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<title>Observing WIPO - Statement at the 2007 Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO, 28 September 2007</title>
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[ <a href="statement-20070928.pdf">PDF Version (44k)</a> ]
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<a href="/activities/policy.html">WIPO</a>
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<h1>Intervention by Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE)</h1>
<h4>Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO Forty-Third Series of Meetings, Geneva, 24 September – 3 October 2007</h4>
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<p>The FSFE has comments on various items on the agenda of this year's
Assemblies of the Member States. In the interest of time and on
invitation of the chair, we are submitting these comments in writing
for your kind consideration.</p>
<h3>Considerations for WIPO's procurement decisions</h3>
<p>On the question of WIPO's technical needs and systems, as discussed in
multiple agenda items, FSFE submits that WIPO should follow the
established principles of vendor independence, interoperability and
Open Standards for all its procurement. References in this area are
provided by the European Commission's IDABC European Interoperability
Framework (EIF) or the work done on the subject in other Member States.</p>
<p>Experience indicates that cost related to lack of interoperability easily
accounts for up to 40% of IT budgets, and is a major cost driver for
all users of information technology, including public bodies. This
lack of interoperability is a common result of vendor specific
procurement decisions and lack of Open Standards.</p>
<p>Interoperability and Open Standards are also central for the issue of
sustainable storage of and perpetual access to data and
information. FSFE submits that it is in direct conflict to the mandate
of WIPO as a multi-stakeholder intergovernmental organisation to
depend on any particular company's products for access to its data and
communication with its Member States.</p>
<p>FSFE therefore suggests that the Assemblies of the Member States
establishes clear guidelines for WIPO's management to ensure vendor
independence, interoperability and Open Standards in all its
procurement decisions.</p>
<h3>On a Development Agenda for WIPO</h3>
<p>FSFE congratulates the Member States of WIPO for their agreement to
work together on a concrete set of issues to establish a Development
Agenda of WIPO. We have followed this process for the past years and
continue to offer our input and assistance in allowing these
discussions and their implementation to come to a successful outcome.</p>
<p>Pertaining to the comments on interoperability, Open Standards, and
vendor-independence, we believe the same issues should also be
included in the Development Agenda discussions, specifically in
Cluster A, including, but not limited to, items 7, 10 and 11.</p>
<p>Regarding Cluster B, in particular items 22 and 23, FSFE would like to
emphasise the role of Free Software to establish and maintain an open,
competitive and innovative technology industry. Free Software is often
the only remaining competitor in markets that saw abuse of neighboring
monopolies, and the best choice to re-establish competition.</p>
<p>For reference, we would like to point out the investigation conducted
since 1998 by the European Commission in this field, and the recent
decision of the European Court of First Instance. The decision
concerned two markets, one of which was the workgroup server
market. In this market, due to massive leveraging of desktop monopoly
into the market based on obstruction of interoperability, Free
Software is left as the only remaining competitor, currently providing
the basis for competing products by no less than four major vendors.</p>
<p>Pertaining to Cluster C, FSFE would like to emphasise the importance
to discuss the role of Free Software in technology transfer and
capacity building, as agreed upon during the World Summit on the
Information Society in Geneva, referenced in item 24. Citing section
C3, 10, point e of the WSIS Plan of Action:</p>
<blockquote>
<em>"Encourage research and promote awareness among all stakeholders of
the possibilities offered by different software models, and the
means of their creation, including proprietary, open-source and
free software, in order to increase competition, freedom of choice
and affordability, and to enable all stakeholders to evaluate which
solution best meets their requirements."</em>
</blockquote>
<p>Overall, FSFE considers it imperative to dedicate sufficient resources
to the upcoming Development Agenda discussions within WIPO to bring
this work to concrete results in a timely manner.</p>
<h3>On the future activities of the SCCR and SCP</h3>
<p>Regarding agenda item 17, the future activities of the SCCR, FSFE
would like to reaffirm its support for the September 2006 Joint
Statement of Certain Civil Society, Industry and Rightholders
Representatives Regarding the Draft Basic Proposal for SCCR 15.</p>
<p>Considering the large amount of pressing issues in the area of
Copyright and related rights, including a potential treaty on Access
to Knowledge, the issue of Limitations and Exceptions, and the issue
of alternative Copyright-based system to incentivise creativity, such
as Creative Commons and Free Software, FSFE believes the SCCR should
priorise these issues over more meeting devoted to issues that are
unlikely to see consensus in the next years.</p>
<p>FSFE furthermore in reference to agenda item 19 believes that the SCP
should analyse the effect of patenting in the area of IT standards,
incorporating a perspective on potential antitrust issues, which in
our experience are relevant to the full picture.</p>
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