WIPO Boss Reappointed Until 2020, Despite Bogus Legal Threat Against Blogger
from the wipo-credibility-gone dept
Given all the controversy -- some of it quite serious -- it seems reasonable to question if Gurry is the right person to continue to lead WIPO. Apparently, the member states that control WIPO don't have a problem with it, because they've now reappointed Gurry, giving him a second six-year term.
As for his focus? It appears to be to continue pushing a maximalist position. While it should be noted that WIPO has actually become marginally less maximalist in the past few years, thanks to the influence of developing nations like India and Brazil, it's still an organization that focuses on maximizing intellectual property, rather than maximizing what's actually best for the public. That's clear from Gurry's "acceptance" speech.
Turning to the future, I believe that the fundamental challenge that we face as an Organization is to achieve a shared understanding of the contribution and value of intellectual property to economic, social and cultural development.Notice that it's not about determining whether or not it's actually true that "intellectual property" creates such value -- it's just assumed as fact.
And, indeed, he also highlighted areas where WIPO has been working on dangerous new forms of "intellectual property" protections -- where absolutely none is needed: broadcast rights and traditional knowledge.
In concrete terms, for example, the Organization must achieve successful outcomes both on broadcasting and on traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources. If we are unable to address the latest technological developments, the Organization will fail in its main mission of encouraging innovation and will become irrelevant to the mainstream of global innovation. If we are unable to address traditional knowledge systems, the Organization will fail in its mission of universality and will not recognize the full scope of intellectual contributions to innovation.This is ridiculous and dangerous. Locking up traditional knowledge doesn't help "recognize the full scope of intellectual contributions to innovation" -- it just makes it more difficult for continued innovation. Protectionism where none has been needed slows down progress, rather than advances it.
As the old saying goes, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The problem here is that WIPO seems to view every bit of knowledge, content and transmission as a rogue form of "property" that needs to be locked up and put behind a tollbooth. And rather than looking into how dangerous an assumption that is, Gurry is busy threatening bloggers for reporting about his own questionable behavior.