The 2013 ‘Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest’ Research Survey


Between July and September, 2013, we surveyed members of the Global Congress community to learn more about their projects and priorities. We invited participation through email lists and solicited anyone who had either been to a Global Congress, been invited to one, or expressed interest in coming.  We received around 90 responses.

Rather than create an agenda document, we’ve decided to let the responses speak mostly for themselves.  We’ve split them into two parts: a searchable, sortable database for Current Projects (below) and a series of posts on Research Priorities (forthcoming on Infojustice) that compile perspectives on research opportunities and its relationship to policymaking in the next several years.

Here are the caveats: The responses are drawn from–but do not exhaustively reproduce–the responses we received.  Responses have been cherry picked, edited, and loosely organized under primary themes.  We favored detailed responses over lists of projects or statements of general interests or concerns.  The list is also quite limited: it attributes projects to the person or persons who reported it–not necessarily to all contributors to a project.   We can, of course, make adjustments where the attribution is clearly inadequate (let us know if that’s the case).  But we are not aiming for a rigorous accounting of the research field, just a useful one given the usual constraints on time and resources.  If this proves popular, we can discuss expanding it as part of future Global Congresses.

View all survey results


Governance, Participation, Trade Agreements

Public Health, Access to Medicines

Practices and Attitudes, Piracy / Informality, Public Understanding of Copyright

Tech Innovation Systems and Patents, Open Innovation, Tech Patents, Patent SystemUniversity Tech Transfer, Biological Patents

Creative Incentives and Remuneration, Collecting Societies, Licensing, Copyright’s Incentives, Remuneration, Creative IndustriesAlternative Business Models

Copyright Reform, Users’ Rights, Access to Cultural Goods, Educational Materials, Libraries

Enforcement, Privacy and Surveillance

Trademark, Geographical Indicators, Traditional Knowledge

IP/A2K Social Movements and Activism, Capacity Building

Adjacent Issues

Geographical Focus

Global, Latin America, Africa, MENA, Europe, South Asia, USA, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Poland, China, Russia, South Africa, India, Ethiopia


Priorities for Future Research

Intro and International Comparison and Cases
Copyright Reform, Users’ Rights, and Enforcement
Trade, Patents, and Health
Cultural Economies
Methods, Communication, and Social Movements


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Primary Investigator(s) and/or Person Who Reported ItResearch VenueProject TitleTopic(s)Geographical FocusDescription
Sara BannermanMacMaster University, CanadaCopyright: A History of Access to KnowledgeGovernance
Traditional histories of international copyright have showcased France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. The relative absence of other countries from the dominant history leaves a story with significant blind spots. This project examines the history of international copyright by foregrounding the ‘emerging countries’ of various historical periods. It hypothesizes that emerging and developing countries have almost always been proponents of expanded access to knowledge, and that this can be traced through the international history of copyright.
Sunil AbrahamCentre for Internet and Society, IndiaAnalyzing the Indo-EU Free Trade Agreement for IPR IssuesTrade AgreementsIndia
This is an ongoing project, running parallel to the negotiations around the Indo-EU FTA. The various provisions of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the IP issues identified therein will be studied with the ultimate goal to ensure that there are no adverse changes proposed to India's IP regime, as it is generally seen as more favorable to the public interest than many EU regimes.
Floriana FossatoCenter for the Study of New Media and Society, New Economic School, RussiaRanking Digital RightsUsers' Rights
Privacy and Surveillance
We are currently involved in the 'Ranking Digital Rights' project led by Rebecca MacKinnon. This is a comparative study of public and private (online service provider) Internet policies in various states (including Russia). Freedom of expression is closely intertwined with privacy across the sector and, as connectivity increases, so do the challenges. This research effort will include two main components:(1) a Landscape Assessment, focusing on analyzing the current policy environment in the country. (2) Mapping of Key Actors, including identification of key individuals and organizations working in the internet policy space and the mapping of relationship networks. Some 25 Russian IT companies and Internet organizations have agreed to participate in interviews for this research.
Miroslaw FiliciakUniversity of Social Sciences/Centrum Cyfrowe, Warsaw, PolandSecretly CulturalBehavior and Attitudes
Piracy / Informal Circulation and Distribution
Secretly Cultural is a qualitative investigation of intermediaries in informal and pirate circulations of content. We interviewed owners of large file collections on the largest Polish file locker site Chomikuj; translators of movie subtitles; and administrators of rogue online game servers, among others.
Miroslaw FiliciakUniversity of Social Sciences/Centrum Cyfrowe, Warsaw, PolandThe Social History of VCRsBehavior and Attitudes
Piracy / Informal Circulation and Distribution
This project focuses on the early days of the Polish home video market, the social networks of movie copying, but also on processes of erasing those popular practices from Poles’ memory and labeling them as barbaric and unmodern. The research is based mainly on press archives and about two dozen interviews with people involved in this market in 80s and early 90s. One goal is to show that many of the debates about copyright that take place today are very similar to those of early 90s, and that many of demonized issues - like home-copying enabled by VCRs - eventually made the producers richer, not poorer. I'd like to rehabilitate those grassroots video-sharing practices, and in the process help change wider public understanding of files sharing.
Miguel CaetanoCenter for the Study and Research of Sociology, ISCTE-IUL, PortugalP2P Culture: a comparative sociological analysis of sites and networks for online sharing of music, movies and ebooks in Portugal and BrazilBehavior and Attitudes
Piracy / Informal Circulation and Distribution
Latin America
My dissertation project concerns the analysis of the sharing of unauthorized copyrighted works in Portugal and in Brazil, with a focus on three sectors: music, books and movies.
Miroslaw Filiciak
Alex Tarkowski
University of Social Sciences/Centrum Cyfrowe, Warsaw, PolandPerceptions and Attitudes Toward Copyright in PolandBehavior and Attitudes
Public Understanding of Copyright
We are working (together with Michał Danielewicz and several collaborators) on a large study of perceptions and attitudes towards copyright in Poland. We have conducted 18 focus group interviews (FGI) with selected social groups including youth, teachers, academics, librarians and photocopy shop owners. The study was later supplemented with an online survey of Internet users. The goal of our study is not just to provide a metric of the knowledge about copyright law itself, but to present attitudes and perceptions related to copyright: whom it protects and whom it should protect; attitudes towards copyright enforcement, copying, and piracy, etc. This will be the first study in Poland to look at copyright not just as law, but as a social construct and a collective imaginary.
Volker Grassmuck
Rolf Grossman
Bodo Balazs
Pablo Ortellado
Leuphana University, Germany
IViR, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
GPOPAI, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil
German Green Party
Sharing Licence Pilot ProjectIncentives and Remuneration for Creative Work
Alternative Business Models
EuropeWe are currently working on Alternative Compensation Schemes to legalize and monetize currently infringing online practices. Though in the last decade there have been many proposals, most of these were done by legal scholars following a top-down approach, ie: if this is legally possible and fair, this (or something similar) should be implemented. We also start with mapping the legally possible alternatives (mostly within the European context), but then we translate the legal alternatives into simple survey items and conduct a representative surveys to see which enjoy the highest level of support (measured in willingness to pay). The outcome of the survey will undergo an economic analysis to establish the welfare effects of different scenarios.
Agata KrolikowskiUniversity of Humboldt, GermanyOrphan Works in Digital LibrariesAccess to Knowledge and Cultural Goods
The ongoing German and European regulations on orphan works are the focus of this project, conducted in cooperation with a working group at Humboldt University Institute for Internet and Society.