Developed Nations Protest Developing Nations' Desire To Create Their Own IP Laws

from the hypocrites dept

We’ve discussed many, many times how the US and other developed nations have been relying on extreme secrecy in crafting new intellectual property agreements, such as ACTA and TPP. They continue to insist that no one else should be in the room when they discuss these important laws. So, what happens when some poorer developing nations want to get together to discuss how developing nations might create better intellectual property laws that match their own specific needs? You guessed it. The big developing nations freak out and demand to be in the room. Apparently, the developed nations only think things should be secret for their own intellectual property discussions.

This all happened recently at WIPO, concerning the Development Agenda. As a bit of background, over the past few years, WIPO has finally come around to realizing that a single strict intellectual property regime around the world doesn’t make much sense. Over the last decade, the amount of evidence showing how developing nations are seriously harmed by strict intellectual property laws is overwhelming and, at this point, incontrovertible. With that in mind, the Development Agenda within WIPO has grown, allowing various developing nations to really seek out alternative views on intellectual property. In fact, this is why ACTA and TPP are being done outside of WIPO, despite it being the natural place for such agreements: because the US (mainly), and some others like Japan, didn’t want to let the developing nations into the conversation.

And yet, when the Development Agenda tried to have some private discussions on “enhancing cooperation” on intellectual property issues among developing nations… the developed nations threw something of a hissy fit, and effectively derailed the meetings by demanding to be there. The end result was that the meetings were suspended:

In the project, two inter-regional meetings were planned among developing countries and LDCs, and two annual conferences with the full WIPO membership. According to sources, the two inter-regional meetings would have been closed meetings only allowing members from developing countries and LDCs and that was challenged, in particular by developed countries.

Some concessions were made so that only the first inter-regional meeting would have been closed and the second one would be open to developed countries but only with an observer status, with one conference open to the whole WIPO membership, according to sources. Some developed countries argued that no meeting should be restricted to only some members as some developing countries purported the opposite opinion, saying that a closed meeting would constitute the first step of South-South collaboration, sources said.

No consensus seemed reachable and Egypt asked for a vote to adopt the project, backed up by India and South Africa. Matters got only worse when a developed country member asked for a secret ballot vote, which gave way to a discussion on the WIPO rules of procedures and the difficulty to organise a secret ballot vote this late into the evening and the meeting, sources said.

Egypt finally asked for a suspension of the meeting, backed up by India, according to a source. The vice-chair of the meeting, Garikai Kashitiku, first secretary of the permanent mission of Zimbabwe, suspended the meeting.

While I tend to think that all such discussions should be open, I find it astoundingly hypocritical of the “developed nations” to insist on keeping their own discussions entirely secret (and even taking them out of WIPO to keep them secret), and then to claim that these discussions need to involve them.

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Comments on “Developed Nations Protest Developing Nations' Desire To Create Their Own IP Laws”

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17 Comments
PW (profile) says:

Why don’t the developing nations simply create their own ACTA/TPP group and discuss these issues outside of WIPO muhc like the developed countries have. Forcing themselves to remain confined to a system that clearly isn’t working in their interest makes little sense. Not that they should check out of WIPO, just like the developed nations haven’t stopped participating, but the developing countries should just a run a parallel effort as well.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Wow.

It’s like a family dinner at the Von Trapp’s.

“What in God’s green earth are the children doing sitting at the adult table? I’ve never seen the likes of it. Maria! Have you been putting ideas into their little heads? Have you?

Well, stop. No good can come of it. They’re too young to be thinking for themselves and they’re certainly too poorly dressed.”

[Sound of kids bitching and moaning as they’re sent to the kids table.]

“I’ll ask you kindly to please shut your whine-holes. The adults are trying to talk. We’ll let you know what to think and when and if you’ll be able to express those thoughts.”

[Casual backhand of nearest child/Maria/developing country.]

Anonymous Coward says:

Ignorant or Misleading?

With that in mind, the Development Agenda within WIPO has grown, allowing various developing nations to really seek out alternative views on intellectual property. In fact, this is why ACTA and TPP are being done outside of WIPO, despite it being the natural place for such agreements : because the US (mainly), and some others like Japan, didn’t want to let the developing nations into the conversation.

What a laughably uninformed comment. The TPP is a free trade agreement. How many free trade agreements have ever been brokered in or through WIPO?

I’ll give you a hint, it is 0. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_free_trade_agreements

Mike…you should really brush up on your basic historical, institutional knowledge. Sometimes I can’t tell if you’re actually this uninformed, or if you are intentionally misleading in an effort to further an agenda.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Ignorant or Misleading?

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership, also known as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement or TPP agreement is a multilateral free trade agreement that aims to integrate the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.” Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Pacific_Strategic_Economic_Partnership

Anonymous Coward says:

“… Matters got only worse when a developed country member asked for a secret ballot vote, …”

The country in question was firsh France (and I’m not sure if they were representing the EU), with Spain asking the WIPO Secretariat to interpret the rule pertaining to ‘votes’ and the issue of ‘secrecy’ – when the WIPO Secretariat ‘bundled’ their response -which just explained that the rules’ interpretation is for Member States to interpret- Egypt, in frustration, called the Secretariat incompetent and asked for a suspension. That’s how it went down in the last few minutes … Then the beauty of it all, the staff member responsible for coordinating the Development Agenda got a “promotion” – Go figure!

The developing countries have every ‘right’ to defend it’s interests.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Parallels

An interesting thought just occurred to me.

All of these various (anti)free trade agreements and IP protection treaties are starting to overlap, and bring many countries into competing and differently framed treaties. These treaties require certain things, such as changes to internal laws, and in a few cases sanctions against “bad actors” (such as one country trying to import cheap generic drugs into another). Now we’re seeing a different group of countries looking to start setting up their own treaties.

Go back a hundred years to Europe. How did World War I start? The assassination of some minor nobody was just the trigger (that along with some manipulating by various politicians) to crystallize all the overlapping treaties that bound groups of countries together into declaring war or coming to the defense of another.

Well, you say, those were mutual defense treaties that pledged troops and war, and what we have now are economic treaties. Yes, but economic war has frequently turned into violent war in the past – if a country is being squeezed economically and cannot respond in kind, will they really sit idly by while their people starve or die of disease?

It is not a perfect representation by far, but I think it bears some examination.

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