Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, University of New South Wales
Unlocking IP research projectNew models for sharing and trading intellectual property
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Unlocking IP 2006 Conference

"Creating Commons:  The Tasks Ahead in Unlocking IP"

UNSW AGSM, 10-11 July 2006

The Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at UNSW Law Faculty hosted a two day Conference 'Creating Commons: The Tasks Ahead in Unlocking IP' on Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 July 2006.

There were also meetings on Wednesday 12 July of UIP research project participants, and for members of international commons organisations.

1. Themes The conference covered many of the main areas of research related to the 'Unlocking IP' research project, and in particular these five key themes:

  • Analysing public rights
    How should we understand public rights, commons and the public domain, and their role(s) in intellectual property and in public policy? What interests,  policies and theories should underpin efforts to expand and protect them? To what extent is there an Australian public domain?

  • Optimising educational access
    What approaches best assist educational institutions to licence materials produced in the 'outside world', or to self manage  access to materials they produce? How is sharing and trading of IP best balanced within education?

  • Licensing for public rights
    How can licences which create public rights achieve goals such as consistency, simplicity, and effectiveness? What difficulties currently exist, and how can they be overcome?

  • Finding the public domain
    How can we find works with public rights more effectively? What tools do we need to enable us to do so? How can we find what is in Australia's public domain?

  • Expanding public rights 
    What types of incentives are effective to encourage IP owners to  create public rights? When should law impose requirements to create or not impede public rights ? What effects to existing or proposed laws have on the scope of public rights?

2. Conference history and sponsors

This was the second Unlocking IP conference, following the successful 2004 Conference also held at UNSW and jointly hosted by the Centre and AEShareNet.

The conferences are part of the Unlocking IP Project, a research project funded by the Australian Research Council.  The research investigates how Australia's digital commons, comprising both the public domain and public rights created by open content and open software licensing, can be expanded and protected. It focuses on 'self help' actions within the existing statutory context, in Australia's distinct legal and cultural context, and on comprehensiveness.  The project's Background Paper sets this out in more detail.

Unlocking IP's principal industry partner and Conference sponsor is AEShareNet , the online service for trading and sharing of learning materials. Details of all five industry partners (including Baker & McKenzie, IBM Australia, Linux Australia, and Open Source Industry Australia) and the investigators and participants in the research, are on the project web site.

3. Venue and location

The conference was held at the Australian Graduate School of Management (building G27), University of New South Wales Kensington Campus in Sydney Australia.

The University of New South Wales   UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre