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April 11, 2005
EFF Posts Day 1 Notes from WIPO Meetings
Ren Bucholz @ Deep Links, blogging from behind closed doors at WIPO: "The world's premiere IP-expansionists are considering the radical proposal that more rightsholder protections aren't always in the best interests of developing nations. Several copyfighters have been taking collaborative notes all day inside the cavernous main hall, and you can check out the transcript after the jump."
I've only just skimmed the notes, but it appears that accreditation for the NGOs locked out of the meeting will no longer be a problem: "There's also agreement among regional coordinators on the accreditation of 17 NGOs at the first IIM." Wow. Fantastic news.
It also looks like there was considerable push-back on the notion that WIPO's engagement with development issues should be limited to "technical assistance." Many delegates spoke up in support of the Friends of Development proposal, stressing the critical importance of looking at intellectual property law and policy from a holistic standpoint. There are several refrains of the phrase, "IP should not be considered an end in itself."
Which isn't to suggest that Day 1 was free of the divisiveness that preceded it. The US representative, Paul Salmon, argued that while "more needs to be done" about development issues, that's not WIPO's domain. "WIPO should focus on IP -- the UN does not need any new development agencies."
More to come when I learn more; stay tuned.
Later: IP Watch:
"We don't believe the UN needs another development agency," said the lead US delegate. "We do not support setting up new bodies." He cited the UN Development Program and the UN Conference on Trade and Development as the key UN agencies with specific development mandates.
The developing country proposal specifically argues against development issues being limited to technical assistance and placed solely under the PCIPD.
The United States also argued that WIPO should focus on intellectual property protection, a point countered by several countries such as Egypt that want a broader focus.
The US delegate issued a potential threat to WIPO if it adopts a stronger development focus. "We support WIPO. We would not want to change WIPO in a direction that would diminish that support," he said.
Another procedural matter at the meeting was the announcement at the outset that seventeen "ad hoc" (not formally recognized by WIPO) non-governmental organisations would be allowed to attend the meeting after all. But the United States said the groups and their representatives should be carefully scrutinized before being allowed to attend any future meetings.
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