Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Update on WIPO Development Agenda

William New, Proponents: Slow Better Than Poor For WIPO Development Agenda, Intellectual Property Watch, March 21, 2008.

World Intellectual Property Organization member states felt their way slowly this month in the first committee meeting on how to implement 45 agreed recommendations for transformation of the United Nations organisation toward a stronger development orientation. But the slow start may have been good for development, some supporters said.

The first meeting of the new Committee on Development and Intellectual Property was held from 3-7 March. It was agreed at the conclusion that the chair would hold informal consultations before the next scheduled meeting of the committee in July.

Participating officials asked about accomplishments during the meeting were hard-pressed for specifics as much of the week’s work was on procedure. But members from various levels of development appeared unsurprised that more substantive work was not done. ...

A number of regular followers of the Development Agenda process were on hand during the meeting and some made statements.

The Library Copyright Alliance, a coalition of several library groups, and Electronic Information For Libraries (eIFL), submitted a joint statement calling for a stronger emphasis on strategies for using intellectual property “for the benefit of general education, research, preservation and access to knowledge, and the social good that results from a true balance between intellectual property protections and the public interest.”

The groups encouraged recognition of copyright as subsidiary to social and cultural development. “Whatever considerations are put forth to advance the aims of copyright industries, an equally compelling rationale can be made for the benefits of a dynamic and free exchange of knowledge and information, which ultimately gives back to national economies by transforming the minds of individuals,” they wrote. The groups proposed additions to several recommendations, such as those related to the public domain and pro-competitive IP licensing practices, where they cited the growing “Open Access to Scholarly Communications” movement worldwide. ...

Knowledge Ecology International backed a recommendation by the Friends of Development for an open forum on access to knowledge, plus discussions in other WIPO committees. KEI suggested, for example, that this week’s meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights consider global norms to facilitate access to orphaned copyrighted works, cross-border services for the visually impaired or for distance learning. It also welcomed a recommendation to exchange experiences on open collaborative projects such as the Human Genome Project ...

See also this February 2008 South Centre policy brief, Implementing the WIPO Development Agenda: Next Steps Forward.

For background on the Development Agenda and its relationship with access to knowledge, see our post on the meeting earlier this month, or all previous OAN posts on the topic.