28 January 2004
Representatives of the media, librarians and archivists met yesterday in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to discuss the formulation of a national information policy. One of the key documents discussed during the meeting was the Draft "Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Public Domain Information" that is being prepared under UNESCO's auspices.Authored by Paul Uhlir (The National Academies, USA), the Guidelines are intended to define, and promote understanding and debates on, the meaning of the public domain of information and to assist Member States to develop policies and strategies in this area, which respond both to national needs and international practices.
In 2003, UNESCO's General Conference adopted a " Recommendation concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace" which defines public domain information as is publicly accessible information, the use of which does not infringe any legal right, or any obligation of confidentiality. It thus refers on the one hand to the realm of all works or objects of related rights, which can be exploited by everybody without any authorization, for instance because protection is not granted under national or international law, or because of the expiration of the term of protection. It refers on the other hand to public data and official information produced and voluntarily made available by governments or international organizations.
The Almaty meeting decided to establish a permanent Information Policy working group composed of representatives of the Ministry of Information, public institutions and NGOs to continue the formulation of a national information policy.