Middle Ground

July 12, 2011

Here are a couple of things that might make you think:

Firstly, Kathryn Ryan’s interview with High Court Judge Justice Joe Williams:

Justice Joe Williams on leading the Wai 262 inquiry

He talks a little about the concept of kaitiakitanga, or guardianship of physical and cultural environments and knowledge, and specifically where this overlaps with the modern idea of intellectual property rights especially where these are used in commercial settings.

As he succinctly describes it (my emphasis added):

… thinking about how we value this environment, that we share.”

I recommend you listen to the whole interview and would be surprised if you don’t learn something in the process.

(if you have an iPhone or iPad, may you allow me to recommend the official Radio New Zealand app for your listening pleasure!)

Secondly, Lawrence Lessigs keynote presentation from the recent NetHui event organised by InternetNZ:

Among his important suggestions for policy makers is this: assume there is an internet.

Or put another way slightly later in the presentation:

to protect the future, you need to protect the equality, that produces the sense of entitlement and insight and freedom that the internet has given us, and to resolve the inevitable policy problems we have to churn those problems through democracies that are not corrupt”

Both have clearly thought deeply about these issues, and it’s interesting to hear both of them talking about the importance of finding the middle ground.

Lessig asks New Zealanders to continue to resist US extremism on intellectual property matters, in order to avoid importing US corruption.

I wonder if the is an aspiration even greater than that: perhaps exporting the idea of kaitiakitanga to other places in the world that are willing.