Today may be World Intellectual Property Day
, but this past Friday was also apparently World Book and Copyright Day
(quite a bookended weekend for government monopolies on knowledge!). Bas Grasmayer
points out that UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which is supposed to be focused on "promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture" oddly chose Friday's "World Book and Copyright Day" to launch an "anti-piracy observatory."
This is bizarre for all sorts of reasons. An organization focused on encouraging education and international collaboration seems like the last place
that would be supporting locking up information through government-granted monopolies. This "observatory" appears to have little interest in determining whether or not stronger copyright actually promotes international collaboration through education, science and culture -- and simply assumes it must. Given that the actual evidence
on this particular topic -- especially
in developing nations where you would think UNESCO would be most concerned -- suggests exactly the opposite
, it's quite troubling that UNESCO would take this particular position. It's a position that harms developing nations solely to benefit a few corporations. That doesn't seem like a position UNESCO would support.