ITU Home Page International Telecommunication Union Franšais | Espa˝ol 
Print Version 
ITU Home Page
Home : Office of the Secretary-General : CSD : Visions of the IS

Visions of the Information Society:
Information wants to be free 


The following contains links to research centres, Internet-related documentation and individual researchers contributing the general topic area. It contains only a very limited selection of links to United Nations websites. This is an evolving list, so please check back for updates.

ITU Paper, "Intellectual Capital in the Information Society ", 2003

Media and Telecommunications Policy and Legislation (University of California at Berkeley, USA) 

A selective list of links to online resources - some of the entries are annotated. The list is grouped into four themes: Copyright and Intellectual Property Information; Telecommunications Policy; Censorship; Media Literacy.

Right to Communicate 

Online collection of known literature about the Right to Communicate. This is an in-progress and evolving website which combines substantive commentary on information society perspective; and a very selective list of links to relevant websites.

The site intends to continual evolving across three distinct phases: Phase 1. Collect, organize and maintain on the web the known literature on the right to communicate; Phase 2. Generate new activities on the right to communicate in basic research, education programs and policy studies; Phase 3. Implement the right to communicate in a variety of ways across the global society. is a project of the Independent Media Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening and supporting independent and alternative journalism.


A site supporting and informing online activism. Resources are divided into two main categories: Cyber Rights Tools and Cyber Action Issues, with substantive articles and resources in both.

In particular, see "Information Wants to be Valuable" which considers the (non) development of the Internet under a proprietary model

Commission on Intellectual Property Rights (CIPR) - Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy 

The Commission was set up by the British government to look at how intellectual property rights might work better for poor people and developing countries. The first Commission meeting was in London on the 8th-9th May 2001, and the final report was published on 12th September 2002.

Although the Commission disbanded on completion of its report, this website is intended as a means of explaining the work of the Commission and providing access to the final report and supporting documents, which can all be downloaded from this site.

A review of the Commission's report can be found at The Economist website: "Patently problematic: An important new study shows the promise, and pitfalls, of intellectual-property rights for the poor" Sep 12th 2002 - from The Economist print edition 

See also: "Imitation v inspiration: How poor countries can avoid the wrongs of intellectual-property rights" Sep 12th 2002 - from The Economist print edition 

The Development Gateway  

The Development Gateway is a portal containing a large number of submitted pages which deal with relevant issues, e.g. The Development Gateway - Knowledge Economy .  See also links and resources about IPRs on the Gateway -  Intellectual Property Rights 

Duke Law and Technology Review .  See also Intellectual Property Rights @ Duke Law School  

An online journal devoted to IPR issues. Short articles are available online, and the site provides abstracts of available articles.

The website of Professor James Boyle, Duke Law School, and founder and board member of Creative Commons (see below)  - a site packed with information resources and links.

Creative Commons 

Alternative licencing site for people wanting to release their work into the public domain. Creative Commons attempts to deal with the US default of all creative work being copyrighted, regardless of the creators intentions or preference in subsequent access or use of their work.


OpenContent works to "facilitate the prolific creation of freely available, high-quality, well-maintained Content." This Content can then be used in an infinity of ways, restricted only by the imagination of the user. The site makes available licences to release work into the public domain.

Similar initiatives for software include the OSI and FSF (see below) 

Open Source Initiative (OSI)

Free Software Foundation (FSF) 

Digital Future Coalition (USA) 

Committed to striking an appropriate balance in law and public policy between protecting intellectual property and affording public access to it.

Public Knowledge 

Public Knowledge is a public-interest advocacy organization dedicated to fortifying and defending a vibrant "information commons" - the shared information resources and cultural assets that we own as a people. This Washington, D.C. based group speaks in a single voice for a wide spectrum of stakeholders - libraries, educators, scientists, artists, musicians, journalists, consumers, software programmers, civic groups and enlightened businesses. Despite varying concerns in their respective fields, the constituency leaders who comprise Public Knowledge are united in a core conviction, that some fundamental democratic principles and cultural values - openness, public access, and the capacity to create and compete - must be given new embodiment in the digital age.

Center for the Public Domain 

A nonprofit foundation that supports the growth of a healthy and robust public domain by establishing programs, grants and partnerships in the areas of academic research, medicine, law, education, media, technology, and the arts.

Information found under the Resources tab is particularly helpful and detailed, including Recent News which provides and extensive and up-to-date list of recent IPR news links. Further, the list of Supporting Organisations at this site provides a useful annotated list of relevant sites.

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)- Cryptography site and EPIC's Digital Rights Management and Privacy Site 

EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C. It was established in 1994 to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values. Its stie provides links to information resources and news items on issues such as cryptography policy.

SciDev.Net - Intellectual Property 

SciDev.Net is a free-access, Internet-based network devoted to reporting on and discussing those aspects of modern science and technology that are relevant to sustainable development and the social and economic needs of developing countries.

The above link is to a specific collection of articles in the Intellectual Property dossier.

WIPO - Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property 

Intellectual property both affects and is affected by electronic commerce in a multitude of ways. The WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property website provides information regarding WIPO's program of work and activities concerning intellectual property and electronic commerce. The site is maintained in English, French and Spanish.

See also WIPO's  Intellectual Property on the Internet: A Survey of Issues . The report addresses the far-reaching impact that digital technologies - the Internet in particular - have had on intellectual property (IP) and the international IP system.

WIPO's Home Page

ibiblio - The Public's Library and Digital Archive 

A well-organised portal which provides links to online library content, open source software, music, media sites and much more.

The Future of Music Coalition 

The Future of Music Coalition is a not-for-profit collaboration between members of the music, technology, public policy and intellectual property law communities. The FMC seeks to educate the media, policymakers, and the public about music / technology issues, while also bringing together diverse voices in an effort to come up with creative solutions to some of the challenges in this space. The FMC also aims to identify and promote innovative business models that will help musicians and citizens to benefit from new technologies.

The Norman Lear Center 

Based at the USC Annenberg School for Communication, the Norman Lear Center is a multidisciplinary research and public policy center exploring implications of the convergence of entertainment, commerce, and society. On the University of Southern California campus, the Lear Center builds bridges between eleven schools whose faculty study aspects of entertainment, media, and culture. Beyond campus, it bridges the gap between the entertainment industry and academia, and between them and the public. Through scholarship and research; through its programs of visiting fellows, conferences, public events, and publications; and in its attempts to illuminate and repair the world, the Lear Center works to be at the forefront of discussion and praxis in the field.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation 

Founded in 1990, the EFF is one of the older internet organisations and caretakers of freedom of electronic information issues. The EFF site devotes attention to activism, and provides a range of useful links and resources.

In particular, see EFF's "Intellectual Property: Digital Rights Management (DRM) Systems & Copy-Protection Schemes" Archive

Professor Lawrence Lessig's website (Stanford University, USA)  

Darwin Magazine Interview: Lessig 

Darwin online magazine features progressive coverage of the evolving business world. This particular article features an interview with Lawrence Lessig on patents and the internet.

See also article in the New Yorker (The Financial Page): "Righting Copywrongs" (2002-01-21 Issue)

The International Intellectual Property Institute

The International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(4) corporation located in Washington, DC. As an international development organization and think tank, IIPI is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of the use of intellectual property as a tool for economic growth, particularly in developing countries. Since 1998 the Institute has been engaged in a wide range of activities both abroad and within the United States, including critical research, public education, policy and training workshops, technical assistance, institution building and consultative services.

The site contains policy positions and information about the Center and its activities.

Copyright's Commons (Harvard University, USA) 

"Copyright's Commons is a coalition devoted to promoting a vibrant public domain. It is a group of students, teachers, authors, filmmakers, archivists, publishers, and other members of the public who believe in widespread access to creative works. They maintain this website as a forum for discussion of the public domain."

O P E N L A W: Copyright Extension Value 

The site hosts a handy calculator to ascertain the monetary gain achieved by creators through the 20-year extension of copyright protection. The calculator shows that the monetary returns due to copyright extension are actually quite small.

See Chart: The Growth Rate of the Public Domain .  This chart is a visual representation of an understanding of the decline of the growth of public domain as a result of repeated copyright term extensions. is a nonprofit, public interest Web site dedicated to global media issues. MediaChannel offers news, reports and commentary from our international network of media-issues organizations and publications, as well as original features from contributors and staff.

In particular, see collection of media declarations and works-in-progress by clicking here  

Index on Censorship

For the past 25 years, Index has reported on censorship issues from all over the world and has added to the debates on those issues. In addition to the analysis, reportage and interviews, each Index contains a country by country list of free speech violations. These lists remain as extensive today as they were in the early days of Index.

Communication Rights in the Information Society - CRIS Campaign 

Voices 21 - A Global Movement for People's Voices in Media and Communication in the 21st Century 

UNESCO Report of UNESCO seminar on "Freedom of expression in the Information Society", Paris, 15-16 November 2002 

Article 19 - The global campaign for free expression 

Article 19 is founded on the premise that communication is a human right. Dedicated to advancing the international recognition of the human right to communicate. Provides a forum for international recognition of the right and creates web-based media channels for underrepresented sources of information. Also, organizes conference, educational and other programs.

See in particular: "The Public's Right to Know, Principles on Freedom of Information Legislation"  

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Text in : ArabicChinese, Russian, Spanish, English, French

People's Communication Charter - Text

The text of the current version of the People's Communication Charter in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German and Dutch.

Internet Rights Charter (Fourth Draft, April 2001) 

World Radio and Television Council  -- Conseil Mondial de Radio-tÚlevision 

A civil society movement promoting and defending public service broadcasting world-wide (supported by UNESCO.)

Institute for Global Communications (IGC) 

The Mission of IGC is to advance the work of progressive organizations and individuals for peace, justice, economic opportunity, human rights, democracy and environmental sustainability through strategic use of online technologies.

Brettonwoods Project 

A website devoted to monitoring and reporting on the World Bank and IMF activities and policies.

The Privacy Forum 

The Privacy Forum, created in 1992 by Lauren Weinstein, includes a moderated e-mail digest (and archive of those digests and related documents) for the discussion and analysis of issues relating to privacy (both personal and collective) in the information age.

Columbia Journalism Review - Who owns what? 

A key site for delving into media ownership facts and issues.

Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting  (FAIR)

The NGO and Academic ICANN Study (NAIS) 

The NGO and Academic ICANN Study (NAIS) is an international project to review the nature of public representation in the Internet's domain name management organization, ICANN.

See also ICANN Watch 

"Accountability and oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) , a December 2002  report to the Markle Foundation by Prof. Tamar Frankel, Boston University School of Law (USA) 


FreespeechTV - Free Speech Internet Television is the first audio/video hub on the web created and defined by the people who use it.

ACM's (Association for Computing Machinery) Internet Governance Project 

Professor Milton Mueller's website (Syracuse University, USA)  

Good selection of "online publications" which address Internet governance history and issues.

The Commission on Global Governance 

Website on reforming the UN system.

UNESCO - World Information and Communication report (1999) 

Study "Louder Voices, Strengthening Developing Country Participation in International ITC Decision Making"

A study by the Commonwealth Telecommunication Organisation (CTO) and Panos London. The study was presented to the DOT-Force meeting at Calgary in May 2002 and to the G8 Summit in Kananaskis in June 2002.

"Global Policymaking for Information and Communication Technologies: Enabling Meaningful Participation by Developing-Nation Stakeholders" (June 2002), by the Implementation Team on Global Policy Participation, G8 Digital Opportunity Task Force 

Making New Technologies Work for Human Development  - UNDP Human Development Report 2001

The Communication Initiative  

A well-organised and searchable site which posts a range of information and resources dedicated to information and development initiatives.




Top -  Feedback -  Contact Us -  Copyright ę ITU 2011 All Rights Reserved
Contact for this page : Strategy and Policy Unit
Updated : 2011-04-04