Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

WIPO moves toward IP balance

In SOAN for 10/2/04, I described two OA-friendly proposals submitted to the current session of WIPO: the Development Agenda and the Geneva Declaration. Yesterday, WIPO adopted the Development Agenda based in part on the moral force of the Geneval Declaration. I won't cover all the details of this major development, but I do want to point to some of the coverage. See Cory Doctorow's report for the EFF, WIPO Announces Plans to Support Public Domain, Open Source, 10/4/04. Then see Matt Whipp's report for PC Pro, UN body promises greater recognition for open source licencing, and Frances Williams' report for the Financial Times, WIPO to heed concerns of poor, both 10/5/04. Don't be mislead by the headlines, which emphasize open source over open access. The Development Agenda and Geneva Declaration are both general in their language and cover OA and a wide range of related issues. (The OA-related excerpts in SOAN make this clear.) The best place to follow further news on this story is the CPTech page on the Geneva Declaration.

Quoting from Jamie Love in Doctorow's piece for EFF: "For years, WIPO has pushed to expand the scope and level of intellectual property rights and told developing countries that this would help their development. Today WIPO supported an entirely different approach, which emphasized open source software, public domain goods like the human genome, patent exceptions for access to medicine, the control of anticompetitive practices, and other measures that have been ignored by WIPO for years. It represents a change in culture and a change in direction for WIPO. Many in the WIPO Secretariat opposed this, and few thought it would prevail, but today we are moving forward, on a different footing and in a positive direction, and WIPO will never be the same."