A global consumer dialogue and education network about Access to Knowledge issues


You can link to additional information for an existing glossary entry by associating a story with that entry.

A2Ksearch for term
Access to Knowledge is a movement with the objective of ensuring more equitable access to our society's creative and scientific output. Included in its agenda is the reform of copyrighti and patenti law, but also the promotion of alternatives to intellectual property for the protection of creativity and innovation - for example, Creative Commonsi licensing and innovation prizes.
ACTAsearch for term
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is a plurilateral agreement in negotiation, outside of WIPOi, between developed nations such as the USA, EU, Japan, Australia and Canada that would increase the strength of intellectual property enforcement. The ACTAi process has been strongly criticised for its secrecy.
Berne Conventionsearch for term
The Berne Conventioni for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works is the original global treaty on copyrighti from 1886 that sets the minimum standard and duration for the protection of literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works. It is administered by WIPOi. See also: copyright, WIPO
BSDsearch for term
The BSDi (Berkeley Software Distribution) licence was the original licence of the BSD variant of Unix, but is now better known as a general-purpose FOSSi licence that does not contain any copylefti term. This means that derivative works of it may be licensed as proprietary softwarei.
CIsearch for term
Consumers International (CIi) is the only independent global campaigning voice for consumers. With over 220 member organisations in 115 countries, we are building a powerful international consumer movement to help protect and empower consumers everywhere. For more information, visit www.consumersinternational.org.
copyleftsearch for term
Copyleft is a licence term referred to by Creative Commonsi as share-alikei, and sometimes pejoratively as "viral" licensing, which requires those who receive a work under the terms of a particular licence to release any derivative works under the same licence. See also: Creative Commons, GPL Synonyms: share-alike
copyrightsearch for term
Copyright is a statutory monopoly given to the author of a creative work which protects the form of expression of that work against copying or modification by others. The minimum standard of copyrighti protection is set out in treaties such as the Berne Conventioni. See also: Berne Convention
Creative Commonssearch for term
Creative Commonsi is the name of a set of licences which allow a copyrighti owner to licence his or her work to the public under terms that are less restrictive than what he or she could impose under copyright law. The minimum protection retained by the copyright owner is the right of attribution, but commercial usage or the making of derivative works may also be restricted, and those distributing derivative works may be required to do so under the same licence as the original. See also: copyleft, open access
derivative worksearch for term
The right to create a derivative worki of a copyrighti work, such as an adaptation, translation, arrangement or abridgement, is one of the exclusive rights of a copyright owner. Under US law, the creation of a derivative work may be permitted without licence of the copyright owner under the doctrine of fair usei if it is sufficiently transformative.
DRMsearch for term
Digital Rights Management is a scheme by which a copyrighti owner seeks to use Technological Protection Mechanisms (TPMi) to control the exercise of any of his or her exclusive rights, such as the right to copy or modify a copyright work. DRMi includes copy-protection and region coding schemes. See also: TPM
eIFLsearch for term
Electronic Information for Libraries, a prominent NGO which advocates for the interests of libraries and library users.
fair dealingsearch for term
Fair dealing, not to be confused with the broader doctrine of fair usei under US law, allows copyrighti material to be used for certain enumerated purposes. There is no global list of limitations and exceptions that constitute fair use, but commonly education and research, parody and satire, review and criticism and the reporting of news are amongst the purposes for which fair dealingi exceptions exist in national law. See also: fair use
fair usesearch for term
The doctrine of fair usei under US law allows copyrighti material to be used freely in many circumstances based on the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes, the nature of the copyrighted work, the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. See also: fair dealing
FOSSsearch for term
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), or Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSSi) refers collectively to the older term "free softwarei" preferred by the Free Software Foundation (FSFi), and the newer term "open source software" preferred by the Open Source Initiative (OSIi). Both refer to software licensed on terms that allow it to be copied, modified and distributed freely - for which access to the software's source code is a condition. Synonyms: FLOSS
FSFsearch for term
Free Software Foundation, a prominent NGO promoting the use and development of FOSSi.
FTAsearch for term
A Free Trade Agreement is a bilateral agreement between two countries by which they agree to lower trade restrictions in exchange for certain concessions. In the case of FTAs agreed between the United States and other countries, it is usual that the FTA will require the other country to heighten the level of its protection for intellectual property, for example by increasing the length of copyrighti protection from 50 to 70 years.
GNUsearch for term
GNUi (GNU's Not Unix) is a project of the Free Software Foundation (FSFi) to develop a complete FOSSi replacement for the proprietary computer operating system Unix. Software released as part of the GNU project is commonly found in distributions of the Linuxi operating system, leading the FSF to recommend that such systems be referred to as GNU/Linux. See also: GPL
GPLsearch for term
The GNUi General Public License is a FOSSi licence usually applied to computer softwarei. It contains a provision sometimes referred to "copyleft" (or in Creative Commonsi parlance as share-alikei) which requires any derivative works to be released under the same licence as the original. See also: copyleft, GNU
graduated responsesearch for term
Graduated response is a process that copyrighti owners have negotiated with ISPs, sometimes with legislative backing, to involve ISPs in copyright enforcement. Typically ISPs are required to give two warnings to users whom the copyright owners allege are infringing copyright, then after a third alleged infringement to terminate or suspend the user's Internet connection. Synonyms: three strikes
ICANNsearch for term
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is a non-profit private body responsible for developing and administering the policies for the allocation of Internet resources such as domain names and IPi addresses.
ICTsearch for term
Information and Communication Technologies include computers, telephones and communication networks such as the Internet.
IETFsearch for term
The Internet Engineering Task Force is a standards body responsible for development of most of the networking standards for the operation of the Internet.
IGFsearch for term
The Internet Governance Forum is a forum formed under the auspices of the United Nations, to provide "a transparent, democratic, and multilateral process, with the participation of governments, private sector, civil society and international organisations, in their respective roles" for dialogue on Internet Governance policy.
IPsearch for term
Usually refers to intellectual property - that is, principally copyrighti, patents and trade marks. It can also refer to the Internet Protocol which is a component of the TCP/IPi networking standard on which the Internet is based. Intellectual Property has been described as a misnomer on two grounds: firstly, different types of intellectual property such as copyright and patents are quite dissimilar legally. Secondly, none of them have much in common with real or personal property. Synonyms: IPR
ISPsearch for term
Internet Service Provider
Linuxsearch for term
Linuxi is the kernel of a free computer operating system released under the GNUi GPLi. In common usage, it also refers to complete operating systems based on the Linux kernel and also incorporating other softwarei, including GNU software.
net neutralitysearch for term
Net neutrality is a movement advocating the equal treatment of Internet content by telecommunications providers and ISPs. The alternative is that differential treatment may be applied to different types of content based on its source or other criteria, including the payment of money by the content provider. Synonyms: network neutrality
ODFsearch for term
OpenDocument Format is an ISO open standardi for office documents such as word processing, spreadsheet and presentation files. It was first implemented by the FOSSi OpenOffice.org office suite but is now supported by numerous other products.
open accesssearch for term
Open access is a movement for the publication of documents, especially learning materials, online under free licenses, such as Creative Commonsi licences. See also: Creative Commons
open standardsearch for term
There are a number of incompatible definitions of what an open standardi is, but the definition of the Open Source Initiative (OSIi) requires that the standard be freely and publicly available and that it be capable of being implemented in FOSSi on royalty-free terms. Another common requirement (for example of the W3Ci) is that the standard was developed by a neutral body in an open and transparent process.
OSIsearch for term
Can refer either to the Open Source Initiative, the organisation that promotes the use and development of FOSSi, or to the Open Society Institute, a charitable foundation and one of the sponsors of A2Knetwork.org.
Paris Conventionsearch for term
The Paris Conventioni for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883 is an intellectual property treaty administered by WIPOi that most notably gives contracting parties recourse to each other's intellectual property for the registration of patents. See also: WIPO
patentsearch for term
A patenti is a statutory monopoly given to the inventor of a man-made process or product that is novel (that is, not known to the public before) and involves an inventive step (that is, would not be obvious to someone familiar with the existing state of the art). Unlike copyrighti, a patent can be infringed unintentionally.
public domainsearch for term
After the term of copyrighti protection expires, or earlier with the agreement of the copyright owner, a work is said to pass into the public domaini. Such a work is no longer subject to the exclusive rights that copyright grants, and as such may be freely copied, modified and broadcast by anyone.
Rome Conventionsearch for term
The Rome Conventioni for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations was agreed in 1961 and extended copyrighti protection to live performances and recordings or broadcasts thereof. It is administered by WIPOi. See also: WIPO, WPPT
SCCRsearch for term
WIPOi's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, which is the committee responsible for considering proposals for any new agreement to harmonise or expand copyrighti limitations and exceptions on a global level. See also: WIPO
softwaresearch for term
A computer system comprises two parts: hardware and softwarei. The hardware is the physical device which includes a central processing unit (CPU) along with input and output peripherals to allow for communication with the outside world. The software is a set of coded instructions that the computer users to perform tasks. The most basic tasks are performed by operating system software, and more specific tasks such as word processing by application software.
Sonny Bono Actsearch for term
The Copyright Term Extension Act 1998 was the United States law that extended the term of protection of most copyrights from 50 to 70 years. It is commonly known as the Sonny Bono Acti because it was introduced by congressman and former performer Sonny Bono.
TACDsearch for term
The Trans-Atlantic Consumer Dialogue is a body affiliated with Consumers International concerned with European and American policy on trade and intellectual property issues affecting consumers.
TPMsearch for term
Technological Protection Mechanisms are any technical means that a copyrighti owner may use to implement Digital Rights Management (DRMi). The circumvention of TPMs is prohibited by the WIPOi Copyright Treaty (WCTi) and the national legislation that implements that treaty. Much such legislation is over-broad and even prohibits the circumvention of TPMs for purposes that would qualify as fair usei or fair dealingi under national law. See also: DRM, WCT
TRIPSsearch for term
TRIPSi (Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property rights) is one of the intergovernmental agreements to which members of the WTO must agree. It requires members to adhere to earlier intellectual property treaties such as the Berne Conventioni, but also goes further in requiring the protection of computer softwarei and databases. Failure to abide by the TRIPS agreement can result in trade sanctions.
W3Csearch for term
The World Wide Web Consortium, the standards body responsible for developing the standards that underlying the World Wide Web.
WBUsearch for term
The World Blind Union is an NGO representing the interests of visually impaired people, and is largely responsible for pushing the case within WIPOi for a new treaty for copyrighti exceptions and limitations for blind and visually impaired users.
WCTsearch for term
The WIPOi Copyright Treaty of 1996 gives copyrighti owners a new right of making their work available (for example, by making it accessible on the Internet), and introduces a new prohibition on the circumvention of Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) such as Digital Rights Management information (DRMi). See also: TPM, WIPO
WIPOsearch for term
The World Intellectual Property Organization is an intergovernmental organisation formed in 1967 as a specialised agency of the United Nations. It is responsible for administering the main intellectual property treaties such as the Berne Conventioni, Paris Conventioni and Rome Conventioni. More recently it has also begun to develop new treaties such as the WIPOi Copyright Treaty (WCTi) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPTi). See also: Berne Convention, Paris Convention, Rome Convention, SCCR, WCT, WPPT
WPPTsearch for term
The WIPOi Performances and Phonograms Treaty of 1996 updates the rights of performers and broadcasters as laid out in the Rome Conventioni by adding new exclusive rights such as the right of rental and the right of making available or communication to the public. See also: Rome Convention, WIPO