I’ve been in Budapest, Hungary, for the past few days, as part of a programme for ICT policy types from Eastern Europe, Africa and Mongolia, courtesy of the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, the Markle Foundation, and the Stanhope Centre. It’s quite a collection of activists, lawyers, technologists and others who are working to promote ICTs (shorthand for Information and Communications Technologies) in their countries. I talked today about intellectual property rights. The activists collected sounded as though they were 100% opposed to the export of US-style copyright to Europe (via the EU Copyright Directive and other means) and to the rest of the world via multi- and bilateral treaties. The news about the WIPO meeting, which broke broadly yesterday, cancelled allegedly due to US corporate pressure, has caused quite a stir here.
I’ve been extremely impressed by the people I’ve met here. There’s a project in Croatia, for instance, which OSI has supported, called MI2, represented by a colorful and charming guy called Tao. They’re considering implementing a form of alternate compensation scheme for musical recording artists, not dissimilar from the idea that Prof. Terry Fisher has been exploring for his forthcoming book, Promises to Keep.
I had a terrific run this evening along the Danube, which splits (bit of trivia) the old city of Buda and the thriving commercial city of Pest, joined into one in the late 19th century. I ran up to Margaret Island, an amazing spot in the middle of the river. No other runners during the entire trip, but lots of people out and about. It’s a strikingly beautiful city.