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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="2006-02-23"/>
  7. <title>FSF Europe - Observing WIPO - Statement at the PCPD, 23 February</title>
  8. </head>
  9. <body>
  10. <p align="center">
  11. [ <a href="statement-20060223.en.pdf">PDF Version (66k)</a> ]
  12. </p>
  13. <p id="category">
  14. <a href="/projects/un/">United Nations</a> / <a href="/projects/wipo/">WIPO</a>
  15. </p>
  16. <h1>Statement by Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) </h1>
  17. <h4>FIRST SESSION OF THE PROVISIONAL COMMITTEE ON PROPOSALS RELATED TO A WIPO DEVELOPMENT AGENDA (Geneva, 20-24 February 2006)</h4>
  18. <p>Mr Chairman,</p>
  19. <p>I speak in my capacity as president of the Free Software Foundation
  20. Europe, a European non-governmental organisation dedicated to all
  21. aspects of Free Software, as defined by the four fundamental freedoms
  22. specified in the Free Software Definition. We operate in a network of
  23. sister organisations in Latin America, India, Europe and the United
  24. States, and work in close cooperation with the global Free Software
  25. community.</p>
  26. <p>Mr Chairman,</p>
  27. <p>let me first congratulate you on your chairing this session, we are
  28. hopeful that you will help this PCDA process to come to a concrete and
  29. conclusive outcome for the next general assembly. We would also like
  30. to congratulate all member states on their excellent proposals, even if
  31. our comments are in particular on the proposal of the United States.</p>
  32. <p>A typical cycle of sustainable activity is characterised by three
  33. major columns: planning, action, and analysis. Ideally, action follows
  34. on planning, analysis follows on action, the results of the analysis
  35. provide the grounds for further planning. In the WIPO context, we
  36. could also describe these as norm-setting, implementation, and review.</p>
  37. <p>Like all cycles, the WIPO cycle breaks at its weakest link. That is
  38. why we cannot agree with the expressed US opinion that WIPO has no
  39. need for analysis, and that studies only need to be done on a national
  40. level: there is need for review on national levels, but review also
  41. needs to be conducted at the level of norm-setting and implementation.</p>
  42. <p>As a result of this -- in our view incomplete -- understanding of the
  43. process, the US proposal focuses on very concrete, mainly
  44. implementation oriented aspects. We believe this is not necessarily a
  45. bad starting point for building consensus.</p>
  46. <p>Many member states made statements about WIPO activities greatly
  47. benefitting from a more participatory approach. Language ranged from
  48. including "views of all stakeholders, with special emphasis by public
  49. interest groups" to the United States proposal, which asks that WIPO</p>
  50. <ul><pre>
  51. "[...] should aggressively seek out potential partners in other
  52. intergovernmental organizations development agencies, as well
  53. as international and regional development banks, NGOs, the
  54. private sector, academia, charitable organizations, and other
  55. institutions [...]"
  56. </pre></ul>
  57. <p>This is an excellent and possibly consensual notion, which we could
  58. build on quickly and in a concrete way. As also discussed during the
  59. United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, physical
  60. participation in such events substantially depends upon infrastructure
  61. and resources often not available to public interest groups in
  62. particular.</p>
  63. <p>The problems remain similar, so may be the solutions. Therefore
  64. please allow me to briefly share some experiences from the WSIS.</p>
  65. <p>Last week's deliberations on the Internet Governance Forum under
  66. mandate from UN secretary-general Kofi Annan were the most advanced in
  67. terms of incorporating the WSIS experience. All statements were
  68. transcribed live and projected on a screen above the chair,
  69. facilitating better understanding during the session and making it
  70. easier for participants to do justice to all statements.</p>
  71. <p>After the session, the transcripts were put online in a matter of
  72. minutes, making all statements of the session immediately accessible
  73. to all who were absent or had to leave the room while the meeting took
  74. place.</p>
  75. <p>Additionally, Free Software volunteers streamed the entire session
  76. live in an open and accessible format that allowed all computer users
  77. with sufficiently fast internet access to follow the session while it
  78. took place, possibly getting in touch with those present in order to
  79. have them incorporate their views and comments in the statements. The
  80. recordings usually go online a few days later, making it easy for
  81. people to follow the session after it took place.</p>
  82. <p>More could be done, but these two concrete steps have already done
  83. much to ensure that all stakeholders, including member states, have an
  84. easier time following all the proceedings and help improve the
  85. effectiveness of the overall process.</p>
  86. <p>Mr Chairman,</p>
  87. <p>Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can be a wonderful
  88. tool to facilitate universal access and wide participation beyond
  89. cultural, geographical and financial barriers. In order for them to do
  90. so, it is important to use them wisely and choose formats and
  91. protocols that do not exclude any business model, stakeholder group or
  92. operating system.</p>
  93. <p>All WIPO online activities, including the "WIPO Partnership Database"
  94. around which the US proposal is built, should be conducted through
  95. open standards and accessible formats. Open standards in this context
  96. mean publicly documented and freely accessible formats for which at
  97. least two implementations exist, one of which should be Free Software
  98. so others can take it for reference and study, as well as adapt it to
  99. their needs of multilingualism and accessibility.</p>
  100. <p>The format should be available on all three major families of desktop
  101. operating systems used today. Additionally, it is necessary that no
  102. such format actively mandates the use of proprietary software, so as
  103. to not exclude people who wish to maintain control over their own
  104. information infrastructure, an issue of increasing importance for many
  105. member states.</p>
  106. <p>Only the Open Document Format (ODF) fully fits this bill in the realm
  107. of office applications, it should therefore be used for all future
  108. activities. FSF Europe gladly offers its expertise to WIPO for more
  109. in-depth elaboration of these issues in this and other areas.</p>
  110. <p>Mr Chairman,</p>
  111. <p>all proposals seemed to share common ground in wanting to make
  112. concrete improvements in this area. It is on these grounds that we
  113. hope to have provided the basis for a small step towards consensus of
  114. all member states. Maybe such a small, but visible sign of finding
  115. common ground will help us on our way to the next general assembly.</p>
  116. <p>Thank you, Mr Chairman.</p>
  117. <p><em>
  118. Statement by Mr. <a href="/about/greve/">Georg C.F. Greve</a> &lt;<a href="mailto:greve@fsfeurope.org">greve@fsfeurope.org</a>&gt;
  119. <p div="indent">Free Software Foundation Europe, President</p>
  120. <p div="indent">UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS),
  121. <ul>
  122. Civil Society Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks (PCT) Working Group, Co-Coordinator<br />
  123. First phase Civil Society representative, German Governmental Delegation
  124. </ul></p>
  125. </em></p>
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