[WSIS CS-Plenary] [governance] Thinking about
robin at ipjustice.org
Fri Sep 17 21:58:27 BST 2004
Vittorio Bertola wrote:
>>>>sense, standards including patented technologies prevent the
>>>>required `smoothness', but copyright and trademark issues are
>>>>completely out of scope (and should be dealt with elsewhere).
>>>Where? At WIPO? :-/
>>Why not? ;)
> Because changing the culture of an organization - I saw this at companies,
> but an international institution is not different - is very hard and takes a
> lot of time. It took years of fighting to achieve even small cultural
> changes at ICANN, which is a 20-people organization with a few years of age;
> can you imagine how hard it is to change the mentality of the staff of
> organizations which have been working in a certain way, and building
> relationships with certain stakeholders and not with others, for 20 or 50
> Said this, I am not particularly expert of WIPO matters, so I am ready to
> trust whoever has experience of working there, to understand whether it
> would be easier to change the way WIPO works and win the fight there, or try
> to move the fight and win it elsewhere. In fact, among us we have a huge
> capital in terms of the experience necessary to work out good strategies -
> we only have to cooperate to exploit it well.
I am hopeful that we can begin to see some slow reform at WIPO. I was a
participant at the meetings in Geneva last week working exactly on this
goal. There is no doubt that WIPO will have to become more balanced
after the hard pounding it took from the top academics and policy
makers. There will be a Declaration that many of us have been working
on led by Jamie Love that will be released in the coming weeks that puts
strong international pressure on WIPO to reform. Brazil and Argentina
have issued a very powerful to challenge on these issues also in the
last week weeks. But WIPO is more than a 1000 person organization and
will not move quickly and without constant prodding from us.
>>After WTO's Doha round, number of countries from the South have
>>become aware of the problems posed by TRIPS, and are starting to
>>ask for a deep reform of the whole patents and copyrights stuff.
I agree there is a movement coalescing in the South to stand up to the
US and the EU on IP issues, as evidenced by the Doha Round and the FTAA
Treaty's IP chapter finally being non-compulsory. These WSIS/WGIG
processes are another great forum to push for the agenda of reforming
TRIPS to restore balance to the law. And we should also make an effort
to have the enforcement mechanisms taken away from TRIPS. There is no
justification for requiring developing countries to accept harmful
intellectual property rules in order to be allowed to participate in
world trade. These goals may be broader than the WGIG itself, but these
are great forums for collaborating with others to achieve these goals.
> This is good, but as you know, with all due respect, it seems unlikely to me
> that the pressure of Southern countries alone can have significant effects
> on the way copyright works in the countries where (today, and hopefully not
> forever) most ICT tools are developed. Can the government of an African
> country really prevent Microsoft from working the way they do? (And we're
> getting back to the usual problem of sovereignty erosion...)
>>>I see the WGIG as a huge chance to quietly start a new governance model
>>>on information society matters, starting from a tiny bit and then moving
>>>up towards places where we never had a say, such as WIPO or WTO. I think
>>>that, if the final composition of the WGIG is actually satisfactory and
>>>balanced, and if we are smart enough to exploit this opportunity, we
>>>have plenty to earn from this adventure.
Its seems inevitable that intellectual property issues will be on this
group's work docket. So we have to make sure that its a positive agenda
of righting the existing wrongs, promoting freedom, rather than letting
the business and govt crowd turn it into an opportunity to make the laws
>>I would like to share your optimism, but I see too many ``ifs''.
> Heh... you can't know future in advance, but if you start thinking you'll
> lose, then you'll certainly lose :-)
>>I strongly believe that the less governance the better. So, if
>>WTO wants to impose a new form of bloodsucking on the Internet,
>>the best reply from the governance bodies won't be `we do not
>>want to do this' (since WTO has enough power to change the
>>composition of the reluctant governance body), but `we cannot
>>do this; it's contrary to the laws of physics'
> This might be applicable at the personal level, for example with actions of
> disobedience, or by spreading software that overcomes central limitations
> and controls (see DeCSS etc.). But don't forget that, in the end,
> governments can send you the police, and media can turn fights for digital
> freedoms into cyberterrorism and piracy, so there's a limit to what you can
> obtain by refusing to fight at the governance/government level. In a
> globally interconnected world, you cannot flee and you cannot hide - so you
> have to stand up for your rights well before you are pushed into a corner.
>>However, I'm quite sure that me and you have much more agreements
>>than disagreements, because even disagreeing in the methods we
>>strive for the same goals. So let's continue this productive dialog.
> Sure. Actually, I hope that many other people intervene. This kind of debate
> is very important, much more than nomination races.
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