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<author id="greve"/>
<original content="2005-07-21"/>
<title>FSF Europe - Observing WIPO - Statement at the IIM on a Development Agenda, 21 July 2005</title>
<p align="center">
[ <a href="statement-20050721.en.pdf">PDF Version (62k)</a> ]
<p id="category">
<a href="/activities/policy.html">WIPO</a>
DEVELOPMENT AGENDA FOR WIPO (Geneva, 20-22 July 2005)</h4>
<!--<p id="introduction"> Summary: </p>-->
<p>The WSIS Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks Working Group of Civil
Society participated in the World Summit on the Information Society
in its first and second phase, addressing many issues of knowledge
control, software and the internet.</p>
<p>During the first summit in Geneva, we witnessed how the member
of the United Nations formally agreed that knowledge dissemination and
sharing are fundamental building blocks of a knowledge society. Quoting
article 42 of the Declaration of Principles:</p>
<p div="indent"><em>``Intellectual Property protection is important to encourage
innovation and creativity in the Information Society; similarly,
the wide dissemination, diffusion, and sharing of knowledge is
important to encourage innovation and creativity. Facilitating
meaningful participation by all in intellectual property issues
and knowledge sharing through full awareness and capacity building
is a fundamental part of an inclusive Information Society.''</em></p>
<p>It is in this spirit that we see the Development Agenda proposed by the
Friends of Development: patents, copyrights and trademarks are designed
to limit access and knowledge sharing. If applied wisely and with
measure, they can foster creativity and innovation. If applied
carelessly, they can kill both along with their potential benefit for
society: progress. This holds true for any nation in this world, rich
or poor, north or south.</p>
<p>The Friends of Development propose within their Development Agenda to
apply benchmarks to WIPO's policies and treaties in order to maximise
their benefit for all of humankind, including, but not limited to,
the developing nations.</p>
<p>The PCT Working Group strongly supports the proposal made by the
Friends of Development for a Development Agenda, from which we expect
positive consequences for the implementation of the WSIS plan of
<p>Furthermore, we wish to share some of the points that were important
for the debate during the World Summit on the Information Society and
that we feel will add substance to the Development Agenda proposal.</p>
<p>As the global civil society represented at the WSIS stated in its
essential principles of 14. November 2003: <em>``Human knowledge,
including the knowledge of all peoples and communities, also those
who are remote and excluded, is the heritage of all humankind and the
reservoir from which new knowledge is created.''</em></p>
<p>In the past years, we have witnessed an ongoing expansion of the
duration of copyright, and thus the timespan during which that
reservoir remains subject to limited access. At the same time, the
barriers to access have been raised by means of anti-circumvention
policies and approaches to put violations under criminal law.</p>
<p>In the information society, knowledge is circulating and outdated
faster, not slower: to adapt to that fact, the duration of copyright
should be shortened considerably. For this we would also like to focus
your attention on the WSIS Declaration of Principles, article 26:</p>
<p div="indent"><em> ``A rich public domain is an essential element
for the growth of the Information Society, creating multiple benefits
such as an educated public, new jobs, innovation, business
opportunities, and the advancement of sciences.''</em>
<p>The internet has not only paved the way for the knowledge age, it
also represents the latest seminal innovative step of humankind. It
was made at a time when the barriers to access were much lower. A
comparable breakthrough might be made impossible by these increased
barriers: we should reconsider these barriers to make sure we do not
disable the next breakthrough; this in particular refers to the
anti-circumvention provisions and approaches at criminalising
copyright violations, but is not limited to them.</p>
<p>Patents are another area in need of review that we identified
throughout the WSIS: they can be an excellent tool to promote
innovation, but their effects differ between areas.</p>
<p>Scientific studies for instance show that software is an area in
which patents are harmful: they stifle innovation and pose a
significant threat to competition; evidence for this has been
collected by several renowned institutions, including the
<a href="">Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT)</a>, the <a href="">Boston University
School of Law</a>, <a href="">Price Waterhouse Coopers</a>, <a href="">US Federal Trade Commission</a>
and <a href="">Deutsche Bank Research</a>.</p>
<p>Similar effects may exist in other areas and can serve to undermine
the patent system overall. We therefore encourage the Member States
to start a dialog with the goal of establishing clear and binding
ruleset to limit the scope of the patent system. These should take
into account the full diversity of areas and ensure the stability and
functioning of the patent system as a tool for innovation.</p>
<p>Given the scope and significance of these issues, only few of them
can be adequately dealt with on committee level. Mainstreaming the
development dimension into all of WIPO's activities requires the
continuation of the overarching IIM process.</p>
<p> We sincerely hope that progress, wisdom, courage and global vision
shall prevail in this necessary debate.</p>
UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
<li>Civil Society Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks (PCT) Working Group, Co-Coordinator</li>
<li>First phase Civil Society representative, German Governmental Delegation</li>
<li>European Caucus, Coordinator</li>
<h3>More information</h3>
<li><a href="">WSIS PCT Working Group</a></li>
<li><a href="/activities/wsis/">World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)</a></li>
<li><a href="/activities/swpat/">Software Patents in Europe</a></li>
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