Thursday, July 28, 2005

IPR and IG for development

I think that the WGIG report was a good start at defining IG and the issues involved. The 4 clusters in the background report are, IMO, very good as a categorisation that can be taken forward for quite a while. There were over 40 issues considered by the WGIG in the context of IG. Many of these were not strict IG issues according to the definition, but were considered becasue there was at the time no other organisation looking at said issues.

The IPR issue was left, by the WGIG, to the WIPO, as the WIPO is working on IPR and development issues (unfortunately the last meeting ended in a stalemate as the USA and Japan stonewalled). However, IPR issues do have a forum in which they can be debated and discussed. The WGIG report included a discussion of the issues for educational purposes, but clearly left the management of IPR to WIPO. The WIPO is currently working on opening the process to business and CS. It hasn't happened to the extent that CS would like, but the recent meetings have been open. WIPO also ran an extensive online consultation recently, to which many developing country reps contributed.

Coming from a developing country that has benefited from current IPR legislation, both in terms of software/hardware development for the oil industry as well as the entertainment industry, I don't necessarily subscribe to the belief that extending the IPR regime to digital product is bad for developing countries. The issue at hand is that the majority of IP that has been created was created or registered by developed countries. The solution is not to attack IPR rights but to develop our own IP and then use the current regime to protect it the way developed countries and companies and individuals do.

The choice of a licensing scheme has to be left up to the creators of the IP. If we choose to give away our IPR to assist in development, then that has to be our choice. If there is a push for a regime which forces creators to give up their IPR to developing countries, it is clear that this will stifle creation and innovation, as many musicians, filmmakers etc have already stated.

With regard to national laws - there is already pressure for national laws to conform to the international regime. If these laws do not conform or are not enforced, then the creators of the IP have every right to refuse to allow their material to be used in those countries. The current level of digital protection (software activation etc) is only IMO detrimental to privacy in that it allows the identification of infringers of copyright (people who have broken the IPR laws, aka criminals). As a producer of IP, I cannot see this as a bad thing - to allow me to find out who has stolen my property.


Anonymous said...

Hi there, my name is ndelamiko. Did we meet a TTCS meeting back in 2002 or 2003? Blogrolled you so I could find you again.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jacqueline,

I'm not sure that T&T has had a benefit with current IPR as much as it has not suffered with current IPR. Consider that IPR isn't really enforced in T&T except in the annual shakedown of businesses playing radios. Video clubs continuously rent pirated films and pay the government every year to do so... Also consider this...

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