[WSIS CS-Plenary] Re: [not] Thinking about "intellectual property" is....[not
rms at gnu.org
Fri Sep 17 10:37:08 BST 2004
>Since on the issues of patents and copyrights there is no
>opportunity for the WGIG to make things better, only worse,
Wrong. (No offense, but I am continually amazed by the alacrity
with which you make confident assertions that have no apparent
basis in factual knowledge.)
Perhaps you would see them if you open your eyes. I already told you
Practically speaking, the existing system of copyrights and patents is
imposed by treaties that will be outside WGIG's purview. So WGIG will
not be able to recommend reducing them. only increasing them.
TRIPES, the Trade-Restricting Impediments to Production, Education and
Science agreement, imposes requirements for certain copyright and
patent powers. Other treaties can easily impose additional
requirements, but they can't eliminate the TRIPES requirements except
by requiring signatories to leave the WTO.
Thus, if the WGIG were to recommend increased copyright or patent
power, that recommendation could lead to a treaty to do so. But if
the WGIG were to recommend decreased copyright or patent power, there
would be no way to implement that. From what I have seen, I expect
that most government and business representatives in the WGIG will
oppose any proposal to make a recommendation that conflicts with
TRIPES. They will say such a recommendation is "unrealistic".
Thus the WGIG is in a position to make things worse in the area of
patents and copyrights, but not in a position to make things better.
Let me suggest to you one other reality check
on your opinion. If the International Chamber of
Commerce, WIPO, the US Department of Commerce
the MPAA, INTA and ICANN's management all agree
with YOU that the WGIG should leave IPR to existing
international organizations, and take issue with MY
position, will you, um, be just a wee bit motivated to
change your mind?
Before drawing conclusions, I would want to know which topics they
don't want considered, and why. Here, as often, the generalization
"IPR" hides the crucial point.
I would guess that ICANN specifically doesn't want the issue of
trademarks and domain names to be discussed in the WGIG, because that
might call for changes in ICANN's policies. They may be thinking
"trademarks" but saying "IPR" for vagueness' sake. If so, that has no
bearing on what I'm saying about patents and copyrights. The ICC
might be thinking the same way, since maybe it represents powerful
As for WIPO, it may indeed have this position about all "IPR" issues,
since it wants to be the sole place where "IPR" issues are discussed.
There is no conclusion for us to draw from that.
However, I don't know enough about the MPAA's and US DOC's positions
to see what conclusions to draw from them.
If we find that the WGIG is inclined to criticize existing copyright
and patent rules, strongly enough that they would take a shot at
TRIPES, by all means let's encourage them to do it. However, if they
are not inclined to do this, they may as well say nothing about those
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