[A2k] CSC statement to the WIPO PCDA on Chilean proposal
Tue Feb 21 10:47:00 2006
Civil Society Coalition Statement to the Provisional Committee on
Proposals related to a WIPO Development Agenda
Comments on Chilean proposal
February 21, 2006
Thank you Ambassador. As this is the first time the Civil Society
Coalition is taking the floor, please let me congratulate you on your
election to the chair.
The Civil Society Coalition welcomes the Chilean proposal to the PCDA
which articulates three main points: (1) recognizing the value of the
public domain, (2) the =93importance of complementary systems to and in
intellectual property=94 and (3) conducting a =93study for assessing what
are the appropriate levels of intellectual property, considering the
particular situation in each country, specifically its degree of
development and institutional capacity=94. WIPO is at the forefront of
normative processes involving such negotiations as the Substantive
Patent Law Treaty (SPLT) and the broadcasting/webcasting treaty which
could potentially lock-in countries into greater privatizations of
knowledge, and a shrinking of the public domain. Much of this work
appears to have been motivated by an uncritical belief that the
enclosure of knowledge is the best way to promote creativity, invention
and development. But the CSC believes this older way of looking at
things is wrong, and outdated. The great success of the Internet, which
is based upon public domain technologies, the free software and open
access publishing movements, and projects like the Human Genome Project
illustrate how useful it is share knowledge goods widely. We believe
that the Chilean proposal, which says the =93public domain is fundamental
for ensuring access to knowledge=94 is an explicit effort to have greater
balance at WIPO.
CSC adds however, that it may be useful to modify the Chilean proposal
by expanding the phrase, =93the public domain=94 to the more inclusive, =93=
public domain and other elements of the knowledge commons.=94
We are learning not only the value and importance of the pure public
domain, where knowledge it is not owned by anyone, but also, the value
of the other elements of the knowledge commons, where the private owners
of knowledge goods make them freely available to everyone -- like the
Wikipedia, much of the free software licensed under the GNU General
Public License for free software, or the creative commons, to mention
just a few examples.
In this context, we also encourage WIPO to look at the issue of open
standards, which are aspect of the public domain and the knowledge
commons which are very important, for innovation and for development.
Open standards will provide more opportunities for new businesses and
other knowledge good organizations to participate in the creation and
design of the new knowledge ecology.
Also, with regard to the importance of complementary systems to and in
intellectual property, we highlight recent events at the World Health
Organization=92s Executive Board which recently submitted to the World
Health Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the WHO, a draft
resolution on a =93Global Framework on Essential Health Research and
Development=94. The resolution provides a process to consider a new global
regime that is consistent with human rights and public health
priorities. The proposed resolution recognizes the importance and
relevance of public sector and open source methods of supporting and
doing R&D, and the need to have appropriate balance between the public
domain and intellectual property rights.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.