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10-12 December 2003

Attendance Number of Participants Number of Entities Represented
States  4590 176
International Organizations  225 50
UN Bodies  620 37
UN Agencies  347 13
Non-Governmental Organizations  3310 481
Business  514 98
Guests  471  
Media  970 631
TOTAL  11047 1486

Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action

Political results of the actions of the WSIS-PCT group

Recommandations recognizing the existence of the "Free Software" paradigm, along with, but distinct from, the "Open Source" paradigm, have been adopted by the Summit, because of the work ( precise wordings in bold in below ) of the WSIS-PCT group during the long preparatory process, mostly by Georg Greve, Francis Muguet and Richard Stallman (aphabetical order ). It is fair to say that recognition of "Free Software" would have never been voted otherwise. A significant achievement was the recognition that the concept of "software model" to refer to the difference between proprietary and Free Software. This is spreading throughout the whole UN system now. A great source of information concerning the lobbying activity in support of Free Software is the FSF - WSIS project. The PCT group also insisted that instead of focusing on the protection of "IPR owners", the focus should be on protecting the authors and inventors first, who most often are transfering ( sometimes even donating ) their rights in most unequitable terms to entities that are then making unethical and unfair use of those rights, enlarging further the digital divide at the access to content level. The legal value and practical usefulness of WSIS recommendations is discussed here.

Declaration of Princple :
B3) Access to information and knowledge

27.Access to information and knowledge can be promoted by increasing awareness among all stakeholders of the possibilities offered by different software models, including proprietary, open-source and free software, in order to increase competition, access by users, diversity of choice, and to enable all users to develop solutions which best meet their requirements. Affordable access to software should be considered as an important component of a truly inclusive Information Society.

B8) Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content

53. The creation, dissemination and preservation of content in diverse languages and formats must be accorded high priority in building an inclusive Information Society, paying particular attention to the diversity of supply of creative work and due recognition of the rights of authors and artists. It is essential to promote the production of and accessibility to all content—educational, scientific, cultural or recreational—in diverse languages and formats. The development of local content suited to domestic or regional needs will encourage social and economic development and will stimulate participation of all stakeholders, including people living in rural, remote and marginal areas.

Plan of Action :
C3. Access to information and knowledge

10 e) Encourage research and promote awareness among all stakeholders of the possibilities offered by different software models, and the means of their creation, including proprietary, open-source and free software, in order to increase competition, freedom of choice and affordability, and to enable all stakeholders to evaluate which solution best meets their requirements.

10 j)Support research and development of the design of useful instruments for all stakeholders to foster increased awareness, assessment, and evaluation of different software models and licences, so as to ensure an optimal choice of appropriate software that will best contribute to achieving development goals within local conditions.

C8.Cultural diversity and identity, linguistic diversity and local content

23 o) Governments, through public/private partnerships, should promote technologies and R&D programmes in such areas as translation, iconographies, voice-assisted services and the development of necessary hardware and a variety of software models, including proprietary, open source software and free software, such as standard character sets, language codes, electronic dictionaries, terminology and thesauri, multilingual search engines, machine translation tools, internationalized domain names, content referencing as well as general and application software.

Speeches by members of the WSIS-PCT group
before the UN special plenary assembly
or at UN Round Tables

WSIS-PCT group Civil Society Event

Free Software, Free Society

Other Civil Society Speakers

Other Related Civil Society Events
"Shaping Information Societies for Human Needs"