Earlier this week, David Bollier wrote about how the US and other wealthy nations are pushing developing countries to adopt ever-ratcheting intellectual property protection as an end in itself even as they consider for themselves the smarter approach -- judging a specific IP protection by its performance.
As CPTech's Jamie Love observes in The Financial Times, "Regardless of what is said in Delhi, back home wealthy countries are backing open standards for the Internet, open-source software, open-access archives for publicly funded scientific research, public domain databases like the Human Genome Project or the HapMap Project and similar open initiatives." Why? Because there are considerable social and economic benefits to doing so.
Now, in anticipation of next week's historic WIPO Development Agenda meetings (April 11-13), a number of public-interest groups are working together to ensure that all of the delegates have the tools to argue for IP law and policy that accords with their own national best interests. As my EFF colleague Cory Doctorow points out over BoingBoing, this includes a clear-eyed look at what wealthy nations are saying in Geneva while reserving for themselves the luxury of exploring more intelligent approaches at home.
Love has stepped up to bat, providing (1) links to various countries' proposals for interpreting the Development Agenda and (2) a telling "scorecard" of key words in the proposals, providing an at-a-glance analysis of substantive slant.
Compare and contrast the scorecard for the US and the "Friends of Development," which includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, and Venezuela:
All words: 3,059
Access to knowledge: 0
Doha Declaration on the TRIPS: 0
Human Rights: 0
Market failure: 0
Open source: 0
Public Health: 0
Friends of Development (14 countries) [Proposal]
All words: 12,040
Access to knowledge: 7
Doha Declaration on the TRIPS: 3
Human Rights: 2
Market failure: 0
Open source: 1
Public Health: 5
Here we can see even more clearly the farce the WIPO Secretariat is carrying out by barring participation
in these meetings by groups that are among the best-qualified to be there. Groups that were -- oh, say -- founded
to address the issues the US representatives aren't addressing. Bonus headline for the "big media" journalists who ought to be covering this story: "IP Justice
Barred From Meetings to Address IP Justice." It would be funny if it weren't true.
Two more of my EFF colleagues, Gwen Hinze and Ren Bucholz, will be blogging these meetings next week over at Deep Links, and I'll be alerting you to new posts here at Copyfight. Stay tuned.