Access to knowledge

Source: Transnational Institute
Are teenagers freely swapping music, films and other files over the internet undermining corporate control of entertainment and creating a revolutionary culture of sharing and universal access to knowledge? asks Nick Buxton. March 2009. [see more]
In an increasingly technology-driven world, the standard of protection provided by intellectual property (IP) rules is affecting development policies, human rights and other public-interest goals more than ever. Strict IP rules have had an adverse impact on the ability of many governments to fulfil their human rights obligations, of which obligations to ensure access to affordable medicines, educational goods and adequate food. This trend towards higher IP protection has been stimulated by the adoption of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) in the 1990s, and the harmonization initiatives at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). At WIPO, concerns about this trend prompted developing countries to put forward since 2004 a series of proposals in support of a WIPO Development Agenda. The proposals aim to ensure that international IP policy within WIPO takes into account development goals and is coherent with the international obligations of States, including obligations under human rights treaties. Human rights law and mechanisms can support this push for greater development coherence of the international IP regime, and accountability in IP decision-making.

The TRIPS Agreement, which came into force in 1995, set minimum standards of IP protection which all members of the WTO have to implement. Despite international concerns about the impact of the TRIPS Agreement on development, IP standards worldwide continue to increase. These strict IP standards, known as "TRIPS-plus" standards, have emerged in investment agreements, trade agreements and in WIPO treaties. Moreover, the WIPO Secretariat has also been criticized for promoting TRIPS-plus standards at the expense of development concerns in its technical assistance and norm-setting activities. There have been particular concerns that WIPO’s technical assistance has too often failed to properly take into account the range of public policy goals relevant to IP policymaking in developing countries and tailor advice to respond to their particular economic, social and cultural development needs and circumstances.

Mounting concern and criticism of WIPO’s activities by civil society, academics and developing countries provided impetus to a group of fourteen developing countries known as the "Group of Friends of Development" to submit a proposal to the WIPO General Assembly requesting the establishment of a new Development Agenda for WIPO. In October 2004 the Thirty-First WIPO General Assembly decided to convene inter-sessional intergovernmental meetings (IIMs) to examine proposals for a WIPO Development Agenda. Three such meetings were held in 2005. At the Thirty-Second Session of the WIPO General Assembly in October 2005 WIPO’s Member States agreed to "accelerate and complete" the IIM discussions by convening two meetings of a Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda (PCDA) in 2006.

Excerpted from "Policy Brief on Intellectual Property, Development and Human Rights: How Human Rights can support proposals for a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Development Agenda, 3D Publications
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UPDATES
Tuesday, June 30 2009
Piracy and the digital revolution
(Source: Transnational Institute)
Wednesday, April 02 2008
WIPO: NGOs discuss the new development agenda
(Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Monday, December 03 2007
Brazilian copyright law and how it restricts the efficiency of the human right to education
(Source: Sur International Journal on Human Rights)

Proposal for a Development Agenda

Towards a digital agenda for developing countries (South Centre)

Intellectual property and the WIPO "Development Agenda" (WSIS Papers)

'WIPO must respect international human rights treaties' (3D THREE)

Member states agree to further examine proposal on development (WIPO)

Massive victory at WIPO! (BoingBoing)

Establishing a "Development Agenda" for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (GRAIN)

Geneva Declaration on the Future of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (CPTech)

NGOs, scientists and academics call for major reform of intellectual property system (TWN)

NGOs launch declaration and support a development agenda in WIPO (TWN)

NGO statement supporting the establishment of a development agenda for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIP (TWN)

Towards a "World Intellectual Wealth Organisation"

Meetings and follow-up

WIPO: NGOs discuss the new development agenda (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

WIPO seminar debates intellectual property and development (Third World NetworK)

WIPO: Separate treatment for traditional broadcasting and webcasting (Third World Network)

WIPO Manifesto for Transparency, Participation, Balance and Access

WIPO Development Agenda: developing countries submit new proposals (Intellectual Property Watch)

US draft paper counters Development Agenda in WIPO (Third World Network)

Southern countries elaborate on WIPO development agenda

North-South differences emerge in WIPO development meeting (Third World Network)

WIPO's development meeting decides for two additional meetings (Mediatrademonitor)

WIPO to hold two more Development Agenda meetings (Third World Network)

Other international agreements

Intellectual property, development and human rights (3D)

Access to Knowledge (A2K)

Piracy and the digital revolution (Transnational Institute)

Brazilian copyright law and how it restricts the efficiency of the human right to education (Sur International Journal on Human Rights)

The threat of technological protection measures to a development oriented information society (South Centre)

Push for open access to research (BBC News Service)

Proposals for reforming intellectual property regimes (Choike)

Cultura Livre

Developing countries oppose to include "webcasting" in broadcast treaty (Third World Network)

Risks and opportunities for access to knowledge (WSIS Papers)

Intellectual-Property rights and wrongs (Incommunicado)

Why should intellectual property rights matter to civil society? (APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor)

Who Owns the Knowledge Economy? (The Corner House)

Offsetting IPRs' adverse effects on access to knowledge (SUNS)

WIPO General Assembly

Preview of WIPO General Assembly (Third World Network)

WIPO creates 'Provisional Committee' for Development Agenda (Third World Network)

Consumer Project on Technology (CPtech) web page (CPTech)

Intellectual Property Watch coverage (IP Watch)

IP Justice Webpage on WIPO 2005 General Assembly Meeting (IP Justice)


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