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<nettime> love-o-gram: WIPO, WIPO, WIPO

James Love <james.love@cptech.org>
     Dugie S. on Future of WIPO meeting
     FT on Future of WIPO: Clash likely on intellectual property rights
     Dugie - WIPO Urged to Give Up On Database Protection

----- Forwarded 

From: James Love <james.love@cptech.org>
To: random-bits@lists.essential.org
Subject: [Random-bits] Dugie S. on Future of WIPO meeting
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 20:18:02 -0400

in Washington Internet Daily (Sept 14, 2004)
Consumer Groups Press WIPO to Shift Focus from IP Rights to Human Rights

GENEVA -- The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) found
itself on the defensive today as speakers at the Transatlantic Consumer
Dialog (TACD) here debated its future. Faced with accusations that the
organization -- which became part of the United Nations in 1974 -- has
sided with intellectual property (IP) rights to the exclusion of human
rights, several WIPO officials said they?re listening to the increasing
calls for a more balanced approach. And while some speakers agreed WIPO
is making an effort to address their concerns, they said any changes so
far amount to little.
WIPO?s stated mission is to promote IP. But as a U.N. agency, its
responsibility is to take appropriate action to promote intellectual
not IP, said Sisule Musungu, head of the Kenyan South Centre?s program
on international trade & development. WIPO doesn?t appear to act
according to
its U.N. mandate, but according to its original mission to foster IP, he

The stated mission is both ?right and good? but it has failed, said
Stanford U. law prof. Lawrence Lessig. If IP promotion were a campaign
and WIPO its campaign manager, he said, it would lose. IP is more
contested and criticized today than at any time before, he said,
because: (1) There?s too much influence by IP ?maximalists,? special
interests that push for IP term extensions, for instance, to the
detriment of others? rights. (2) We?re obsessed with the conception of
IP as it was -- automatic and longlived -- when technology has
fundamentally changed the use of creative works. (3) Lawyers?
characterization of IP as a ?religion,? not an economic issue. What?s
needed, he said, is substantial reform that would require every
regulation to be tested under the principle of economic efficiency, he
said. Properly balanced, IP promotes the public good, Lessig said. But,
whether by WIPO?s fault or not, IP doesn?t do that, and is now
considered a tool of the rich to impose their power on the poor.

WIPO?s dossier is ?dodgy,? said John Sulston, founding dir. of the
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (U.K.). Its mission statement mistakenly
equates ?works of the human spirit? with IP, he said. The past 25 years,
the funding of discovery has been directly tied to its application, and
WIPO has been required to follow the agenda of those who ?perverted the
course of scientific discovery.? Instead, Sulston said, its mission
should be as a democratic govt. balancing everyone?s interests.

A European Commission (EC) official backed WIPO, saying its primary
mission is as a lawmaking body in the field of copyright protection.
There is ?unfinished business? in WIPO?s digital agenda, including the
issues of protection for broadcasters and the need for IP rights for sui
generis databases, said Rogier Wezenbeek, of the Internal Market
directorate-gen. Copyright & neighboring rights unit. Moreover, he said,
there?s been no new copyright treaty since 1976. With a growing number
of international organizations discussing copyright, it?s of ?prime
importance? that WIPO?s expertise remain in the lead, he said.

WIPO officials stressed they?re heeding calls for change. There?s
?diversity and inclusiveness? in the activities within WIPO, said
Anthony Taubman, head of the traditional knowledge div. Whatever one?s
view of WIPO, he said, it?s engaged in a wider debate on IP than many
believe. Taubman disputed critics who say WIPO isn?t listening, citing
its 6-year effort to address issues surrounding protection of
traditional knowledge. Despite activities that have created the
foundation for a practical debate on the need to protect such knowledge,
and its raising the political status of the issues, he said, WIPO has
been accused on being too theoretical and academic and ?all talk and no
action.? That?s not the WIPO he knows, Taubman said.
And in a later panel on WIPO and the Information Society, Richard Owens,
dir.-copyright, e-commerce, technology & management div., said much of
what has been written about the TACD conference isn?t accurate. ?We?re
in complete receiver mode,? Owens said. Just because WIPO isn?t speaking
out on issues doesn?t mean
it?s not thinking about them, he said. WIPO is in the early stages of
its new relationship with civil society -- consumer, human rights and
other groups -- and its agenda is driven by the concerns of its member
states, some of
which are developing countries. ?We?re open and we?re ready for change,?
Owens said.

WIPO deserves an ?A? for the spirit in which it worked with the TACD on
this week?s conference, said James Love, Consumer Project on Technology
Exec. Dir., at a news briefing. WIPO knows it has to ?wean itself away?
from merely protecting rights-owners, he said. To its credit, Love said,
it deserves high marks for opening its doors to nongovernmental
organizations, and for its willingness to engage in TACD?s issues.

But Brazil and Argentina recently threw down the gauntlet over WIPO?s
mission, Love said. The countries have proposed that WIPO set a
?development agenda? and has asked that member states consider it at
their assemblies in 2 weeks. The big questions are whether the
Secretariat will permit the proposal to be debated as a separate agenda
item, and whether the U.S. and EU will oppose it, he said. ?We?re in a
fight about what this UN agency is all about,? Love said -- Dugie

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From: James Love <james.love@cptech.org>
To: random-bits@lists.essential.org
Subject: [Random-bits] FT on Future of WIPO: Clash likely on intellectual property rights
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 20:22:03 -0400

Clash likely on intellectual property rights

By Frances Williams in Geneva
Published: September 14 2004 03:00 | Last updated: September 14 2004 03:00

The stage is set for a clash over the future of international 
intellectual property protection, with Brazil and Argentina planning to 
call for a "development agenda" at the World Intellectual Property 
Organisation's annual meeting later this month.

Intellectual property protection is a means of promoting innovation and
the transfer and dissemination of technology and "cannot be seen as an 
end in itself", the proposal by the two countries says.

Among their more controversial suggestions are negotiation of a treaty 
to promote developing-country access to knowledge and technology; work 
on collaborative information-sharing mechanisms to stimulate innovation; 
and an amendment to Wipo's constitution stressing the need to take the
development concerns into account.

Brazil has been in the vanguard of moves to ensure intellectual property
rights enshrined in international pacts do not override public interest 
or development needs. This reflects its domestic agenda, which includes
promotion of generic drugs and open-source software.

Brazilian negotiators played a key role in drafting a landmark World 
Trade Organisation agreement in 2001 that affirms developing countries' 
right to give public health needs priority over drug patent protection.

More generally, Brazil has led resistance to US attempts to impose
ever-higher standards of protection on developing countries, notably
through bilateral trade agreements.

Supporters of a Wipo development agenda say the United Nations agency is
dominated by industrialised countries and multinational companies with a
vested interest in strengthening the existing property rights system to
the detriment of poor nations.

"It's about time we had a debate in Wipo", said one Latin American
official. "Developed countries are aggressively pushing their agenda.
Developing countries should be pushing theirs."

Wipo's critics discount claims that the organisation has become more
development-friendly. "Wipo is still pushing a strong rights paradigm,"
Jamie Love, director of the US-based Consumer Project on Technology, 
said yesterday at a conference in Geneva on Wipo's future organised by 
the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, a consumer lobby group.

Mr Love and Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor who
chairs a non-governmental organisation known as the Creative Commons, 
used the conference to announce a new developing nations copyright 
licence that will allow copyright holders to grant royalty-free use of 
their work in poor countries.

Creative Commons has already introduced alternative copyright licences 
in the US, Japan, Brazil and some European Union member states.

These can be used by musicians, writers, film makers and others to 
reserve some, but not all, rights on their work, as conventional 
copyright does, in order to disseminate it more widely. www.wipo.org

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From: James Love <james.love@cptech.org>
To: random-bits@lists.essential.org
Subject: [Random-bits] Dugie - WIPO Urged to Give Up On Database Protection
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 20:33:56 -0400


WIPO Urged to Give Up On Database Protection

GENEVA -- The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) should 
rethink several items on its digital agenda, several panelists said Mon. 
at the Transatlantic Consumers Dialog (TACD) conference here on WIPO?s 
future. One is the European Union?s (EU) directive entitling nonoriginal 
databases to copyright protection are controversial in some quarters. 
That directive is making their way through WIPO?s Standing Committee on 
Copyright & Related Rights (SCCR), and one member of that group urged 
that such ?unfinished business? be put to rest so WIPO can move on to 
other issues. Others want to see the idea disappear entirely.

At issue is whether nonoriginal databases should continue to receive 
copyright protection under a 1996 directive.  The EC believes the item 
should remain on the committee?s agenda because such protection would 
spur  availability of nonoriginal databases, Wezenbeek said. At the 
SCCR?s last meeting, in June, several countries urged the item be 
deleted, but Wezenbeek said more time is needed for discussion.

Rogier Wezenbeek, administrator-copyright & related rights in the EC?s 
Internal Market directorate-gen, was asked about studies indicating 
protection for nonoriginal databases would have no advantage over no 

In the U.S., govt.-generated data are free, and there?s some evidence 
that system works better than the EU?s,  an audience member said. WIPO 
has done 6 studies, not all supportive of the need for database 
protection, Wezenbeek  said. The EC is now awaiting a decision in the 
European Court of Justice on a case concerning the U.K.?s interpretation 
 of the EC?s database directive, he said. One element required under 
the directive for copyright protection for a nonoriginal database is 
that it involve ?substantial investment,? he told us. But ?substantial? 
has yet to be defined. The court is also expected to rule on whether 
such issues should be decided on the European level or left  to member 
states? courts, he said. The U.K.?s interpretation will be 
?authoritative,? he said. It?s the first consideration, at the EU level, 
of the sui generis database right.

The directive requires the EC to report on its effectiveness, a study 
that?s ?a few years late,? Wezenbeek said. It will take into account all 
criticisms of the law as well as the court?s decision, he said. 
Developing countries don?t yet understand how databases can work as 
development tools for them, he said, but among those who represent the 
copyright side, there?s strong support for the directive in member 
states. -- Dugie Standeford

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