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  3. <head> <meta name="author-name-1" content="Georg C.F. Greve"/>
  4. <meta name="author-link-1" content="/about/greve/greve.html"/>
  5. <meta name="publication-date" content="2005-04-13"/>
  6. <title>FSF Europe - Observing WIPO - Statement at the IIM on a Development Agenda, 13 April 2005</title>
  7. </head>
  8. <body>
  9. <p align="center">
  10. [ <a href="statement-20050413.en.pdf">PDF Version (44k)</a> ]
  11. </p>
  12. <p id="category">
  13. <a href="/projects/un/">United Nations</a> / <a href="/projects/wipo/">WIPO</a>
  14. </p>
  15. <h1>Statement by Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) </h1>
  16. <h4>Inter-sessional, inter-governmental meeting on a development agenda for WIPO (Geneva, 11-13 April 2005)</h4>
  17. <!--<p id="introduction"> Summary: </p>-->
  18. <p>Mr. Chairman,</p>
  19. <p>my congratulations to you and your distinguished colleagues for having
  20. been entrusted with chairing this very important IIM. I speak on behalf
  21. of the Free Software Foundation Europe, which has been following the
  22. discussions around the establishment of a Development Agenda with great
  23. interest. We thank all countries for their contributions and would in
  24. particular like to commend the Friends of Development on their very
  25. thoughtful and deep proposal.</p>
  26. <p>Software is the medium that defines and structures the digital
  27. domain. Cultural techniques, such as agriculture, reading and writing
  28. have been essential to evolutionary steps of humankind. Software is
  29. the digital cultural technique upon which the information age will
  30. rest. Access to software determines who may participate in a digital
  31. society.</p>
  32. <p>During the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society in
  33. December 2003 in Geneva, the Member States jointly adopted that
  34. ``equitable and affordable access to ICT infrastructure and services''
  35. is one of the challenges the United Nations face, and that
  36. ``Connectivity is a central enabling agent in building the Information
  37. Society.'' Standards and software models were identified as
  38. cornerstones in the pursuit of the inclusive, developed Information
  39. Society.</p>
  40. <p>A recent study from the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany showed that
  41. 80% of all German exports depend on Information and Communication
  42. Technologies. Because of this central nature of software, lack of
  43. interoperability and a lack of competitiveness act to the detriment of
  44. the entire national economies of all Member States. In recognition of
  45. this fact, the UN Member States at the WSIS adopted that
  46. ``Standardization is one of the essential building blocks of the
  47. Information Society.''</p>
  48. <p>As recent cases have shown, traditional reactive antitrust instruments
  49. are often incapable of matching the rapid pace of ICT evolution. A
  50. more pro-active approach is required. As such, freely implementable,
  51. publicly documented standards are one of the few known and proven
  52. tools to protect interoperability and competition.</p>
  53. <p>We therefore call upon WIPO to include in its policies effective
  54. measures to ensure that software standards be freely implementable and
  55. publicly documented.</p>
  56. <p>Mr. Chairman,</p>
  57. <p>as was adopted and endorsed at the WSIS, choice of software model is
  58. another important component of the Information Society. Its Plan of
  59. Action therefore encouraged research and called on all Member States
  60. to promote awareness for the effects of the different software models.
  61. Building upon Copyright, the global movement for software freedom has
  62. spent the past 20 years providing a model that protects competition,
  63. interoperability and sustainable development.</p>
  64. <p>Equitable participation requires equal access and control, it requires
  65. independence from the particular interests of foreign states and
  66. entities. Today, only the Free Software model grants equal rights and
  67. freedoms to all Member States, their corporations and citizens.</p>
  68. <p>WIPO should therefore make sure that all its activities are fully
  69. accessible and available with Free Software and include Free Software
  70. in its technical assistance activities.</p>
  71. <p>Mr. Chairman,</p>
  72. <p>The model of Free Software has played a crucial role in the current
  73. dawn of the information age, such as the invention and rise of the
  74. internet. If by some magic Free Software were to disappear, so would
  75. the internet. By using the Copyright system itself to mitigate some
  76. of its restrictions, Free Software is the living proof that more
  77. monopolies and more restrictions do not always mean more economic or
  78. innovative activity.</p>
  79. <p>We explicitly support the Friends of Development in their statement
  80. that no tool should ever be promoted for its own sake and should
  81. therefore be beyond review. FSFE supports the proposal to establish a
  82. permanent dialog that pro-actively seeks alternative forms of
  83. encouraging intellectual activity while monitoring and adjusting the
  84. existing toolset of granting limited intellectual monopolies to best
  85. meet the requirements of human development.</p>
  86. <p>Essential building blocks of human creativity, such as access to
  87. knowledge and freedom to participate in society and economy should
  88. once again become the norm, not the exception.</p>
  89. <p>Mr. Chairman,</p>
  90. <p>it is the declared goal of WIPO to ``create real wealth for
  91. nations.'' This IIM can be the first step towards WIPO meeting the
  92. needs of being a true ``<a href="/documents/wiwo.en.html">World
  93. Intellectual Wealth Organisation</a>'' of the Information Society. We
  94. consider this a unique chance and will be glad to contribute to this
  95. process in any way we can.</p>
  96. <p>Thank you, Mr. Chairman.</p>
  97. <p>
  98. <a href="/projects/wsis/">UN World Summit on the Information Society</a> (WSIS),<br />
  99. - Civil Society Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks (PCT) Working Group, Co-Coordinator<br />
  100. - European Caucus, Coordinator<br />
  101. - First phase Civil Society representative, German Governmental Delegation<br />
  102. Expert for Copyright, Software and the Internet to <a href="http://www.iprcommission.org" target="_blank">UK IPR Commission</a>, 2001</p>
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