World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

WIPO may be in transition from its past promotion of a miximalist agenda for Patents, Copyright and Trademarks (PCT) to balancing these laws with an agenda that promotes creativity, innovation, and UN values such as international development (More via: EFF, CPTech, IPJustice). There is a growing international recognition that too much PCT can harm creativity and innovation, just as too little PCT can.

Head of WIPO to step down early...

An AFP article includes:

Kamal Idris, head of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), has decided to bring forward by one year the process of nominating and appointing a new director general, spokeswoman Samar Shamoon told AFP.

Idris, a Sudanese national who has headed the UN's only revenue-earning agency for ten years, has been under intense pressure over claims he misrepresented his age when joining the organisation.

Copyright activists want Canada to avoid WIPO treaty

This article by Rafael Ruffolo for ComputerWorld Canada discusses WIPO treaty ratification.

At last week’s Free Software and Open Source Symposium (FSOSS) 2007, held at Seneca College’s York University Campus in Toronto, Rory McGreal, associate vice-president of research at online Athabasca University, discussed his growing concern over new copyright legislation as well as Canada’s potential adoption of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) copyright treaty.

The article also quotes Barry Sookman and I. We have have debated about this issue in the past. Mr. Sookman claims that it is a "choice" for people to purchase content that is only accessable with devices where they have waived their property rights. I believe that this is a combined circumvention of competition law (section 77 on tied selling and refusal to deal) and property law, and is a technique harmful to the economy that should be clearly illegal.

US Renews Effort To Topple WIPO Director General

An Intellectual Property Watch article by William New discusses the efforts by US government representatives to topple current WIPO Director General Kamil Idris. While there are credibility problems with the current director, it worries me even more when United States Ambassador to the United Nations Warren Tichenor suggests that the US is seeking a replacement given they may push for a replacement that will promote the interests of the special interests promoted by the USPTO/USTR rather than the interests of creators and other citizens of the world.

Leadership tussle threatens to derail UN intellectual property organization

It is interesting that according to a Canadian Press article, the United States is threatening yet again to leave WIPO. Such a hypocritical "representative" of a country. They abuse the institution to policy-launder harmful attacks on property, communication, cultural, creator and other rights when it serves their purposes. Then at the slightest sign of disagreement they threaten to leave.

Testing the legacy major label recording industry's (mis)interptetation of "Making Available"

We may eventually get a more sane interpretation of the "Making Available" right included in the 2 1996 WIPO treaties. A case involving the RIAA's (mis)interpretation is making its way through the US courts under their DMCA, with a reply Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss Complaint filed by the RIAA in Warner v. Cassin.

Toronto Star: Dangerous fake goods crossing border (Only listen to Britney Spears on "Authorized" hardware!)

A Toronto Star article by Iain Marlow talks about the "Counterfeiting" problem in Canada, including the following:

A parliamentary committee reported on June 20 to the House of Commons on how Canada could improve its dismal performance at the border. Among the committee's recommendations: government should make the importation and distribution of counterfeits a criminal offence; parliament should provide the CBSA with a clear mandate to target counterfeits; and that Health Canada needs more resources to investigate unsafe food and drug imports.

James Rajotte, the Conservative MP who chaired the committee, said it's not just about intellectual property rights, but about health and safety. "CBSA is doing the best job that they can, but they need to have the mandate to target counterfeits," Rajotte told the Star.

If this wasn't about intellectual property rights, then why was WIPO treaty ratification (Entirely about protecting the outdated business models of the content industry) includes as a recommendation in their report? I think someone is trying to use the "sharing music kills babies" style of political rhetoric to scare politicians into passing laws that will circumvent the property and other rights of Canadians.

WIPO Broadcasting Treaty Talks Sent Back To Committee

An IPWatch article by William New includes:

World Intellectual Property Organization members on Friday recommended to move talks on a proposed broadcasters’ and cablecasters’ treaty back to committee level for further consideration, a day after rejecting a proposal to elevate the issue to formal treaty negotiations. The move could signify a shelving of the issue, some nine years after discussions first began.

See also: Ars Technica: Reviled Broadcast Treaty dies at WIPO, and several posts by Howard Knopf.

US To Seek 15 Percent Cut In WIPO Patent Fees

WIPO is primarily funded through fees for its services, with Patent Cooperation Treaty fees representing about 3/4 of the revenue. One has to wonder with the USA calling for a cut in this revenue stream whether they are trying to signal the beginning of the end of their endorsement of this organization, now that the organization has allowed for a minimum of balance in policy making from the US maximalist IP agenda and an agenda that takes the interests of other countries and industries into consideration. I have heard other rumors that there will be a push away from this UN agency to bilateral agreements.

It is also a fee that are primarily paid by Industrialized nations (who file for and are granted more patents) rather than other fees primarily paid by so-called "developing" (less-industrialized) nations. The special interest reason for the USA's call is fairly transparent.

EFF Blogging WIPO: The New Development Agenda

This EFF DeepLinks article posted by Gwen Hinze includes:

The significance of this achievement should not be underestimated. The recommended proposals go to the very heart of WPO's areas of concern and its mandate - how WIPO conducts itself as an organization. Three years ago WIPO refused to hold a meeting to discuss open collaborative development. Now, it's being called upon to facilitate exchange of information on open collaborative projects. If the PCDA's recommendations are adopted, this could indeed result in a seachange at WIPO.

See also: June 18 WIPO press release.

Meetings continue this week (Jun 18-22, 2007) on the so-called "WIPO Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations".

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