[WSIS CS-Plenary] Thinking about "intellectual property"
is a mistake
mueller at syr.edu
Sun Sep 12 15:31:28 BST 2004
What I see here are a series of assertions, and I cannot
understand the logic linking them.
First, it is common in law to link copyright, patents and trademark
as families of related areas of law. Many practitioners span
all three fields, many legal conferences cover all three. To say that
patent issues are "completely different" from copyright is just
wrong - both involve a commitment to make valuable information
public in exchange for limited terms of protection. Copyright
protects only the particular expression, patent protects the idea.
That is an important difference with significant governance
consequences, but it is a variation on a theme, not a "complete
difference." Same goes for trademark.
But what I cannot understand at all is the leap to conclude
that since these things are different they should be "kept off
the agenda" of the WGIG. There is more internet governance
activity around issues of intellectual property (especially
copyright and trademark) than perhaps any other issue area.
KaZaa, circumvention of copy protection, TRIPS, the WIPO
Internet broadcasting activity, ICANN and domain name-trademark
conflicts, all these are critical and live areas of internet governance.
Perhaps this person did not express his ideas well. I cannot
make any sense of his assertions.
>>> rms at gnu.org 09/07/04 2:21 PM >>>
Indications are that the WGIG will take a broad view of
Internet governance, and issues will include ICANN, Spam,
and network security, privacy and other ICT rights issues,
intellectual property rights, and interconnection agreements to name
just a few.
To think about "an issue" labeled "intellectual property rights" is a
sure-fire recipe for unclear thinking about patent issues, about
copyright issues (completely different from patent issues), and about
trademark issues (different yet again). If the working group uses
that terminology and the ideas it embodies, its recommendations will
be founded on confusion, and cannot be very good.
So I suggest that the first thing to be done is to urge that copyright
and patents be kept off the agenda of this group.
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