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WIPO Worried About Why Countries Feel They Needed ACTA Process Outside Of WIPO

from the routing-around dept

Earlier this year, in discussing ACTA, some observers noted that it was quite telling that those involved in the ACTA negotiations were clearly routing around WIPO, the organization that was already in place to deal with those kinds of discussions. The explanation was that the negotiators were upset that the copyright holders no longer had full control over the WIPO agenda, and WIPO had dared to let consumer rights groups into the discussion. So the purpose of ACTA was to get around having to include such groups. It appears that WIPO, itself, is quite concerned about what's going on with ACTA, suggesting that he's worried that these countries no longer believe the WIPO process works.
"A number of countries feel [there is] an important area of public policy they are not able to address in a multilateral forum, and so have gone outside the multilateral framework to satisfy their desire for creating some form of 'international' cooperation," Gurry told Intellectual Property Watch in an interview last week. "That's the challenge, for us. And whether it concerns enforcement, ACTA, or any other area, that, on the whole, is a bad development for a multilateral agency, that member states start to do things outside."
I'd argue that he's being a bit too hard on himself. It's not that the WIPO process doesn't work (though, I do have some problems with the WIPO process as well), but that the copyright holders were upset that they no longer had near unilateral control over the process. It wasn't that they felt WIPO couldn't address the issues, but that it would be much harder to get them addressed in the way industry folks wanted.

As part of the discussion, he also pointed to the recent fight over helping the blind access more content through exceptions in copyright law -- an WIPO process that has been stymied by industry interests who don't like to see any new exceptions applied to copyright. To WIPO, that gridlock on such an obviously reasonable solution is worrying:
The frustration it has caused is a consequence of practical issues not being addressed, he said, citing recent difficult discussions in the Standing Committee on Copyrights and Related Rights on increased access for visually impaired persons. "Can anyone not subscribe to that principle, as a general rule?" he asked, with visually impaired readers only obtaining access to about five percent of all published work in reasonable time.

"Can anyone stand up and say that they should not have more [access], that we should not do something about it?" It is such an obvious question, he said "but we are not getting an agreement" although the last meeting showed genuine involvement of member countries.
If anything, what this demonstrates is not any problems with the WIPO process, but a group of organizations so used to getting their way on copyright issues so totally and completely, that they're not used to facing people questioning the actual impact of the regulations and international agreements they push. When that happened, they decided to take their ball and go home to play with only their friends. That's what ACTA is really about.
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Filed Under: acta, negotiations, treaties, wipo

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  1. icon
    johnjac (profile), 7 Jul 2010 @ 7:22am

    Not to be 'that guy' Nit-picky guy.


    Not to be picky but "he" in the article don't have an antecedent. Who is he?

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