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  4. <meta name="author-name-1" content="Georg C.F. Greve"/>
  5. <meta name="author-link-1" content="/about/greve/greve.html"/>
  6. <meta name="publication-date" content="2005-07-21"/>
  7. <title>FSF Europe - Observing WIPO - Statement at the IIM on a Development Agenda, 21 July 2005</title>
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  10. <p align="center">
  11. [ <a href="statement-20050721.en.pdf">PDF Version (62k)</a> ]
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  13. <p id="category">
  14. <a href="/projects/un/">United Nations</a> / <a href="/projects/wipo/">WIPO</a>
  15. </p>
  18. <h4>
  21. DEVELOPMENT AGENDA FOR WIPO (Geneva, 20-22 July 2005)</h4>
  22. <!--<p id="introduction"> Summary: </p>-->
  23. <p>The WSIS Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks Working Group of Civil
  24. Society participated in the World Summit on the Information Society
  25. in its first and second phase, addressing many issues of knowledge
  26. control, software and the internet.</p>
  27. <p>During the first summit in Geneva, we witnessed how the member
  28. states
  29. of the United Nations formally agreed that knowledge dissemination and
  30. sharing are fundamental building blocks of a knowledge society. Quoting
  31. article 42 of the Declaration of Principles:</p>
  32. <p div="indent"><em>``Intellectual Property protection is important to encourage
  33. innovation and creativity in the Information Society; similarly,
  34. the wide dissemination, diffusion, and sharing of knowledge is
  35. important to encourage innovation and creativity. Facilitating
  36. meaningful participation by all in intellectual property issues
  37. and knowledge sharing through full awareness and capacity building
  38. is a fundamental part of an inclusive Information Society.''</em></p>
  39. <p>It is in this spirit that we see the Development Agenda proposed by the
  40. Friends of Development: patents, copyrights and trademarks are designed
  41. to limit access and knowledge sharing. If applied wisely and with
  42. measure, they can foster creativity and innovation. If applied
  43. carelessly, they can kill both along with their potential benefit for
  44. society: progress. This holds true for any nation in this world, rich
  45. or poor, north or south.</p>
  46. <p>The Friends of Development propose within their Development Agenda to
  47. apply benchmarks to WIPO's policies and treaties in order to maximise
  48. their benefit for all of humankind, including, but not limited to,
  49. the developing nations.</p>
  50. <p>The PCT Working Group strongly supports the proposal made by the
  51. Friends of Development for a Development Agenda, from which we expect
  52. positive consequences for the implementation of the WSIS plan of
  53. action.</p>
  54. <p>Furthermore, we wish to share some of the points that were important
  55. for the debate during the World Summit on the Information Society and
  56. that we feel will add substance to the Development Agenda proposal.</p>
  57. <p>As the global civil society represented at the WSIS stated in its
  58. essential principles of 14. November 2003: <em>``Human knowledge,
  59. including the knowledge of all peoples and communities, also those
  60. who are remote and excluded, is the heritage of all humankind and the
  61. reservoir from which new knowledge is created.''</em></p>
  62. <p>In the past years, we have witnessed an ongoing expansion of the
  63. duration of copyright, and thus the timespan during which that
  64. reservoir remains subject to limited access. At the same time, the
  65. barriers to access have been raised by means of anti-circumvention
  66. policies and approaches to put violations under criminal law.</p>
  67. <p>In the information society, knowledge is circulating and outdated
  68. faster, not slower: to adapt to that fact, the duration of copyright
  69. should be shortened considerably. For this we would also like to focus
  70. your attention on the WSIS Declaration of Principles, article 26:</p>
  71. <p div="indent"><em> ``A rich public domain is an essential element
  72. for the growth of the Information Society, creating multiple benefits
  73. such as an educated public, new jobs, innovation, business
  74. opportunities, and the advancement of sciences.''</em>
  75. </p>
  76. <p>The internet has not only paved the way for the knowledge age, it
  77. also represents the latest seminal innovative step of humankind. It
  78. was made at a time when the barriers to access were much lower. A
  79. comparable breakthrough might be made impossible by these increased
  80. barriers: we should reconsider these barriers to make sure we do not
  81. disable the next breakthrough; this in particular refers to the
  82. anti-circumvention provisions and approaches at criminalising
  83. copyright violations, but is not limited to them.</p>
  84. <p>Patents are another area in need of review that we identified
  85. throughout the WSIS: they can be an excellent tool to promote
  86. innovation, but their effects differ between areas.</p>
  87. <p>Scientific studies for instance show that software is an area in
  88. which patents are harmful: they stifle innovation and pose a
  89. significant threat to competition; evidence for this has been
  90. collected by several renowned institutions, including the
  91. <a href="">Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT)</a>, the <a href="">Boston University
  92. School of Law</a>, <a href="">Price Waterhouse Coopers</a>, <a href="">US Federal Trade Commission</a>
  93. and <a href="">Deutsche Bank Research</a>.</p>
  94. <p>Similar effects may exist in other areas and can serve to undermine
  95. the patent system overall. We therefore encourage the Member States
  96. to start a dialog with the goal of establishing clear and binding
  97. ruleset to limit the scope of the patent system. These should take
  98. into account the full diversity of areas and ensure the stability and
  99. functioning of the patent system as a tool for innovation.</p>
  100. <p>Given the scope and significance of these issues, only few of them
  101. can be adequately dealt with on committee level. Mainstreaming the
  102. development dimension into all of WIPO's activities requires the
  103. continuation of the overarching IIM process.</p>
  104. <p> We sincerely hope that progress, wisdom, courage and global vision
  105. shall prevail in this necessary debate.</p>
  106. <p>
  107. UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
  108. <ul>
  109. <li>Civil Society Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks (PCT) Working Group, Co-Coordinator</li>
  110. <li>First phase Civil Society representative, German Governmental Delegation</li>
  111. <li>European Caucus, Coordinator</li>
  112. </ul>
  113. </p>
  114. <h3>More information</h3>
  115. <ul>
  116. <li><a href="">WSIS PCT Working Group</a></li>
  117. <li><a href="/projects/wsis/">World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)</a></li>
  118. <li><a href="/projects/swpat/">Software Patents in Europe</a></li>
  119. </ul>
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