US Wants WIPO To Host IP Maximalist Agenda Day; Public Interest Groups Not Invited [Updated]

from the isn't-this-for-the-public-interest dept

See the update at the end

We've already written about how WIPO caved to US pressure (along with a few other countries) in delaying a decision on whether or not the Pirate Parties International group can act as an observer at WIPO meetings. However, in the KEI report that revealed that decision, there was also a separate story worth highlighting as well: the news that the US is pushing for WIPO to hold an intellectual property maximalist day, but has no interest in hearing what public interest groups have to say.
In another development, the US said it is asked that WIPO set aside a regular day for corporate right holder groups. One member of the US delegate said they wanted a "Davos type" format, with CEOs of leading companies interacting with government delegates and WIPO officials. When asked, have you proposed similar event for consumer, public health and development groups, the answer was no. The US said its proposal at WIPO for the right-holders day had a lot of support. It also comes at the same time that the pharmaceutical and processed food industries are seeking more direct roles in the governance of the World Health Organization (WHO), under a "WIPO Reform" negotiation.
This is, of course, not particularly surprising, though it is troubling. Considering, again, that we're told that the purpose of these laws is to benefit the public, even as these companies often pretend it's really just about benefiting them, it would seem that any such event should have a very high level of participation by the public itself, including various public interest groups.

Update: Some good additional info from Nick Ashton-Hart who was in the room when this was proposed, and who says that it's not as bad as the original report suggested. Instead, he points out that the request did not come from industry sources, and isn't about big rightsholders, but about actually getting real innovators and inventors to come and tell WIPO officials what they do -- which could actually be useful. I'm still concerned about how this would be set up in reality, but perhaps it's not as bad as it sounded from the original report.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2012 @ 2:35pm

    Missing interest groups

    Who will represent those who create intellectual property? The representatives of the companies that rob them blind?

     

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    gorehound (profile), Oct 4th, 2012 @ 2:56pm

    Was reading about this Tale in disgust from another site.I have such a big hate for the US Government and for the large Corporations and for the MAFIAA who support the Bullshit.
    Hope this Century they all fall hard as I will feel no sympathy.

     

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    c3l3st0 (profile), Oct 4th, 2012 @ 3:06pm

    wow! the US is really a pain in the a..! everything is industry related! everything is profit oriented! everything has to be like the US wants it to be! Granting not even an observer status is really just a sign of being afraid of the PPI, because they know that the next generation of politicians are coming from that section! As long as something is profitable, it is not allowed to be changed! somebody please stop the US! *facepalm*

     

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    Nick Ashton-Hart, Oct 4th, 2012 @ 3:15pm

    This is all a bit overcooked

    Sorry to rain on the parade, but I was actually there and talked not just to the US but to the other three countries who proposed this.

    First: nobody at industry asked for this.
    Second: the idea the countries who proposed this have is not to have big corporate rightsholders show up to extol their virtues, but to have inventors and innovators from around the world come and talk about what they do.
    Third: When I made CCIA's intervention, I made clear that what is needed at WIPO is substantial reform - and a complete overhaul of the entire relationship with ALL NGOs, and all of them should be treated on an equal footiing.

    The idea of a Davos-like environment isn't a good one. Having real inventors around is a good idea. Having lots more people in suits around talking about invention, but who aren't inventors, isn't really useful.

     

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      James Love (profile), Oct 4th, 2012 @ 4:18pm

      Re: This is all a bit overcooked

      Nick's comment that "nobody at industry asked for this" is based upon what information? Maybe Nick should check into the WHO "reform" debate where industry is lobbying for something similar, and even seats on the WHO Executive Board. Or the various public private partnership deals where they want special roles in governance. Or a million other areas such as TABD where companies want special access to decision makers. And, when people talk about a Davos type format, they are not talking about the inventors working out of garages. They are talking about executives from Pfizer and Merck, the people currently telling the US delegation what to do.

       

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        Nick Ashton-Hart (profile), Oct 5th, 2012 @ 6:09am

        Re: Re: This is all a bit overcooked

        I have been in the room with other industry representatives of widely different views when speaking to governments about the need for the whole WIPO/NGO relationship to be overhauled and none of us asked for special rights (and CCIA has very publicly said that would be a disaster; look at ICANN for an example of what happens when one stakeholder group has more of a role in an organisation than the others).

        There is no way the developing world is going to agree to this Davos-like construction whether or not the developed countries like it.

        Whatever is going on in health IGOs is a separate issue. We don't want to import anyone else's bad ideas to WIPO; we have plenty of difficult problem areas there now.

        I understand Jamie's concerns - I really do - I just don't agree that the intent is anything like as bad as he is thinking it is. What's most frustrating is this is taking on a whole life of its own when the bigger issues of transparency, accountability, and good governance are serious issues. This is just one potentially bad meeting, which isn't even agreed to by the member-states.

         

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    ike, Oct 4th, 2012 @ 3:29pm

    I am the largest rights holder

    As a rights holder of the entire public domain, may I attend?

     

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    James Love (profile), Oct 4th, 2012 @ 3:46pm

    Nick's comments

    We are here at the GA, and I talked directly to US delegation about the proposal, and that's where the Davos quote came from, as well as the talk about CEOs and other high ranking company officials talking directly to government delegates and high ranking WIPO officials. That's also when I asked about other non industry stakeholders. Not sure what Nick heard, or why he thinks this is not so bad.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2012 @ 4:00pm

    IP law is the antithesis of innovation and free market capitalism and for these reasons it ought to be abolished.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2012 @ 4:01pm

      Re:

      IP law *

       

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      Dionaea (profile), Oct 5th, 2012 @ 12:38am

      Re:

      I don't really think it needs to be abolished, but both copyright and patents definitely need (much) shorter terms and stronger and guaranteed exceptions (non commercial file sharing, educational purposes and the like), maybe making them non-transferrable except by inheritance would be good too. The idea of IP isn't bad, it's the current laws and execution of it which are. Patents and copyrights give artists and inventors some rights to what they come up with and allows them to earn money more easily.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2012 @ 4:59pm

    I am also at the WIPO GA and heard everyone speak, including Jame and Nick. The political postering and the bowing down to big industry is for Gurry to gain support - from he US and interested parties, to ensure a second term for Gurry. He works in the interest of industry before that of a Member State. I see and hear everything and know for certain Member States have sold their souls to the devil. We also heard from a Wipo staff . Any way .....we also heard that a former CISAC staff member who is now a WIPO staff member. Like - why promoting collective mgt systems when some countries do not have indigenous well develoed entertainment industries and will never see a penny of the collectted royalties. And really, can someone say why WIPO is so big on IMR? We see very, very personal agendas at play at WIPO with WIPO staff at times corrupting several f its member states. Very very bad vibes ........

     

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    Ninja (profile), Oct 4th, 2012 @ 7:56pm

    Bloody hell, wherever the US puts it finger shit sprouts and hits the fan? I'm itching to do some joke involving the position of President of the United States of America and King Midas...

     

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    azank, Oct 5th, 2012 @ 4:29am

    WIPO IP Maximalist Day

    "One member of the US delegate said they wanted a "Davos type" format, with CEOs of leading companies interacting with government delegates and WIPO officials."

    Sounds like, "cool, let's meet the big guys, maybe we can get autographs."

    All these guys are interested in is a junket and hob nobbing with a bunch of C Level executives who are their big constituents. Then they can say we met with the IP owners and they agree that our approach is the best one.

    I came, I ate, I enjoyed the cocktails, we agreed, now get over it.

     

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