Bonn Ministerial Conference on Global Information Networks

Subject: Bonn Ministerial Conference on Global Information Networks
From: Emanuella Giavarra (
Date: pe 15 elo    1997 - 01:38:44 EEST

Dear list members,

This message was originally sent to the eblida-list.

Kind regards,
Emanuella Giavarra

Sheila Webber wrote:

This is based on an item I will be including in the next issue of the
newsletter _Inform_

Bonn Ministerial Conference

At there are press releases
from the Ministerial Conference on Global information networks held in
Bonn in July 1997. Professor Birgit Dankert attended the conference on
behalf of EBLIDA.

By the end of the conference there was a Ministerial declaration, a
Users' declaration and an Industrial declaration. The 'users' were a
panel of assorted organisations, mostly non-profit (including a few
Ministry representatives, a couple of data protection agencies and
informatics institutes, and - oddly - someone from Pirelli), and,
looking at this list, one can see the reason for certain emphases in the
Users' declaration (e.g. a lot about data protection). A larger group of
companies formed the industrial panel. (Admittedly it is harder to
'represent' users, but sometimes one feels that official bodies aren't
really trying very hard!)

As an example, the Industrial declaration has a section on intellectual
property (IP), introduced thus: 'A high level of protection of
intellectual property right is essential to the successful development
of global information networks. The global digital environment poses new
risks of infringement of intellectual property.'

The Users' declaration section on IP says only: 'Strict ownership rules
must apply to all providers of services regardless of the transmission
medium. Nevertheless, intellectual property rights should not be used as
a shield to engage in anti-competitive practices by blocking access to
public domain information. Within national boundaries no single operator
should be able to control considerable portions of the market (30 %) in
which they operate. In this context, the market should be defined on a
functional basis (regional, national, etc.).'

In other words it is only addressing the issue of 'public domain'
information (a concept which is not defined and about which, as I
understand it, there is not universal agreement) and the danger of
monopoly situations.

Sheila Webber, Lecturer and Editor of the IIS newsletter 'Inform'
Department of Information Science, University of Strathclyde,
Tower, Glasgow G1 1XH, UK.
Tel + 44 (0)141 548 3092, fax +44 (0)141 553 1393, Email:
'Business information sources on the Internet' pages start at

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