[A2k] PCDA: Consumers International Statement interrupted
Judit Rius Sanjuan
Thu Feb 23 14:58:01 2006
Without precedent, I was interrupted by the chairman of the PCDA during
the reading of my statement on behalf of Consumers International
presenting the "Copyright and Access to Knowledge Report".
CI was the first NGO commenting on the Friends of Development (FOD)
proposal and the chairman stopped the reading of the statement, stating
that CI's statement was not relevant to the proposal being discussed. I
asked for permission to submit a written submission and he accepted.
Fortunately, the Report was mentioned. on the record.
Following me, Pedro Paranagua from FGV (Brazil) was also interrupted
(twice) and the chair asked him to focus on the FOD proposal and to
shorten the statement. The Chairman used words like propaganda, general
statements, and civil society presentation not being useful to the
debate. After him, Gwen Hinze from EFF was also stopped for time reasons.
I found the Chairman's behavior's disappointing. He has been extremely
good in the debates forcing the consensus and concrete proposals for a
development agenda at WIPO. .So now I have some questions:Why is a study
that shows a general failure of the WIPO technical assistance program
not relevant to the debate? or to the FOD proposals? Interesting. Can
somebody explain to me what does "Propaganda" mean in this context?
(not completely read but submitted as a written statement)
Consumers International Statement to the Provisional Committee on
Proposals related to a WIPO Development Agenda
February 20-24, 2006
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Consumers International supports, links and represents consumer groups
and agencies all over the world. It has a membership of over 250
organisations in 115 countries. It strives to promote a fairer society
through defending the rights of all consumers, especially the poor,
marginalised and disadvantaged.
CI congratulates the Group of Friends of Development on its proposals
and extends its strong support to all of them. Specially, CI welcomes
the effort presented by the last document of the Group of Friends of
Development trying to facilitate the debate and to move the discussions
forward in order to reach tangible outcomes and recommendations for the
WIPO General Assembly.
CI would like to take this opportunity to present a study on =91Copyright
and Access to Knowledge=92 that the CI Asia Pacific Office published this
week and available for download at www.consumersinternational.org. The
study included a review of the copyright laws of 11 developing countries
in Asia (Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan,
Malaysia, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Thailand).
CI believes the study provides support for a thorough review of
intellectual property regimes. The CI study reveals that:
a) The international instruments have progressively ratcheted upwards
the scope of the works protected by copyright, the rights accorded to
copyright owners and the duration of protection for copyright owners;
b) All the 11 developing countries have not taken advantage of all the
flexibilities available to them in the international treaties they
signed and in fact, provide copyright owners far more rights than they
need to under the treaties they signed;
c) The WIPO draft laws on copyright do not provide for all the
flexibilities available in the international treaties and is more
restrictive of public access to knowledge.
The study looked at access to educational materials, as in order to
educate people, schools, universities and libraries need access to
affordable teaching and learning materials. CI contends that the
copyright law of developing countries should provide for public access
to educational materials where this is already permitted and that all
available flexibilities in the international copyright instruments
should be relied on to achieve this purpose. The study found that this
has not happened.
a) The Berne Convention does not prohibit the utilization of the whole
of a work for the purpose of teaching. However, only three of the 11
countries allow such a possibility.
b) The Berne Convention does not restrict the number of copies of
publications or sound or visual recordings that can be made for the
purpose of illustrations for teaching. However, five out of the 11
countries studied, expressly restrict the number of copies of these
materials for teaching purposes.
c) The Berne Convention does not place any limitation on the purpose for
which quotations can be made. Despite this, five of the 11 countries
permit quotations to be made for only certain purposes.
In addition, the study reveals that the draft laws used by WIPO to
provide technical assistance are failing the interests of developing
countries. Some examples are:
Inclusion of rights not required by International Treaties. E.g =93a
Public lending right=94 which means that a library cannot lend books
without prior permission of the copyright owners. And the right to
control =93importation of copies of the work=94 which will prohibit paralle=
import of copyright works.
Failure to include beneficial flexibilities, for example the draft laws
do not provide for compulsory licensing of copyright works.
The quotation exception limits the length of quotation to only =93a short
part=94; and unnecessarily requires the quoted work to be a =93published wo=
It is inconceivable for a United Nations body like WIPO to not act in
the best interests of its member states. WIPO=92s actions are a disservice
to developing countries. The flexibilities available under the various
international copyright instruments are critical to enable better access
In view of the above findings, CI calls on the PCDA to implement a
review of the WIPO draft laws on copyright to ensure that WIPO=92s
legislative advise to developing countries contain all the available
flexibilities for access to knowledge in the public domain permitted by
the international treaties.
Judit Rius Sanjuan
judit.rius at cptech.org
Consumer Project on Technology
1621 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20009 USA
Tel.: +1.202.332.2670, Ext 17 Fax: +1.202.332.2673