Owning the Future

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Owning the Future: Ideas and Their Role in the Digital Age is the name of a »knowledge symposium« held in the Indian capital of New Delhi in August 2006, aimed at focusing on alternative ways of looking at sharing knowledge and concepts like »intellectual property«.


Session on Open Source, Open Access, New Delhi, August 24, 2006

This event was jointly hosted by the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD) and Red Hat, the Raleigh, North Carolina company which has an Open Source-based business model and has »satellite offices« spanning the globe.

This symposium, held in Delhi on August 24─25, examined India's current legal framework "in the context of the country's rich tradition of intellectual inquiry, globalization and the rapid growth of the international open source movement", according to a statement from Red Hat. Great event.

(Photo alongside shows, from left, Internet entrepreneur Jimmy Wales, India's Registrar of Copyrights Madhukar Sinha, lawyer Lawrence Liang, ibiblio's Paul Jones and Indian Open Access campaigner Subbaiah Arunachalam.)

Timely event[edit]

Organisers said the symposium was a timely event against the backdrop of individuals and corporations who seek to colonize India's traditional knowledge, a global backlash against software patents, and the growth of the global open source community based on principles of collaboration, community and shared ownerships of intellectual resources.«


This two-day event focused on themes such as India's Future in the Knowledge Economy (a video-recorded talk by Dr Sam Pitroda, chairman of the Indian National Knowledge Commission), Is Intellectual »Property« an Oxymoron, Open Source and Intellectual »Property«—A Judge's Viewpoint, IP, IT and India: Towards A Shareable Dream, Open Source and Its Relevance to India, Open Content: The Wikipedia Story, Open Source, Open Access, Open Source and E-Governance, Nurturing India's Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Knowledge and the Global IP Regime, Open Knowledge Resources and Their Relevance to Indian Education, Software, Freedom and Law, The Open Source Philosophy and Intellectual Inquiry, and Free and Open Source Ideas—Defining the 21st Century.

Prominent participants[edit]

Participants who took part included Dr. Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the National Knowledge Commission (who made a video presentation); Dr. Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Center; Jimmy 'Jimbo' Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia; Dr. MS Vijay Kumar, Academic Director and Assistant Provost, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dr. D. B. Phatak of IIT Bombay; among others.

Other prominent participants included Indian Institute of Technology Delhi deputy director (faculty) Prof B.N.Jain, Red Hat Inc. executive vice president for corporate affairs Tom Rabon, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi Board of Governors chairman Dr. V.S. Ramamurthy, Indian Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chauhan, Red Hat India president and managing director Nandu Pradhan, IIT Delhi IPR Cell's Prof S.K.Jain, Supreme Court of India's e-committee's Justice G.C. Bharuka, the Alternative Law Forum's Lawrence Liang, Indian Department of IT's IPR Cell's Dr. Ajai Garg and Intel's Danese Cooper.

Speakers also included Justice Yatindra Singh of the Allahabad High Court, IIT Bombay's Prof. D.B. Phatak, India's Director General of Patents S. Chandrashekar, lawyer Nishith Dessai of Nishith Desai Associates, Delhi Science Forum's Prabir Purkayastha, Sri Lanka's Information and Communication Technology Agency's Jayanta Fernando, and the Indian National Association for Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).

V. Ponraj, the director for technology initiatives from the Office of the President of India spoke on the relevance of Open Source to India. Speakers also included Open Access campaigner Subbaiah Arunachalam, India's Registrar of Copyrights Madhukar Sinha, ibiblio founder Paul Jones (computer technologist) of the University of North Carolina, techie-turned-minister for information technology in the Government of West Bengal Dr. Debesh Das, campaigner for traditional knowledge rights Dr. Vandana Shiva, Technetra's Alolita Sharma, Ayurveda practitioner Dr Raju J, India's director of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library V.K. Gupta, and India's Committee on Infrastructure of the Planning Commission Sudhir Krishnaswamy.

Presentations also were made by Massachusetts Institute of Technology academic director and assistant provost M.S. Vijay Kumar, Open Source Initiative president Michael Tiemann, and India's National Informatics Centre deputy director general Dr. B.K. Gairola.

Venkatesh »Venky« Hariharan, Head - Open Source Affairs, Red Hat India argued that the intellectual traditions of India placed »great value on the sharing of knowledge«, a view that was contested by others.

IP and software patents versus Free Software, Open Source[edit]

The organisers of the event said this symposium aimed to explore the trends of intellectual property and software patents versus the growing open source community that upholds the values of sharing and collaboration.

External links[edit]