[Discussioni][larsg a eurorights.org: [eucd] [Fwd: jamie love: USPTO, Microsoft seek to kill WIPO meeting on open collaborative models to develop public goods]]

Tarapia Tapioco comesefosse a ntani.firenze.linux.it
Sab 30 Ago 2003 09:35:04 CEST

----- Forwarded message from Lars Gaarden <larsg a eurorights.org> -----

Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 13:01:48 +0200
From: Lars Gaarden <larsg a eurorights.org>
To: Implementation of EU Copyright Directive <eucd a mikrolisten.de>
Subject: [eucd] [Fwd: jamie love: USPTO,
 Microsoft seek to kill WIPO meeting on open
 collaborative models to develop public goods]

I know this is off-topic wrt the eucd, but this should be interesting
information for most of us.

WIPO has decided not to hold a meeting on open development.

Background information:

Now is the time to contact your local government and ask them to
support the meeting.

----- Forwarded

From: James Love <james.love a cptech.org>
Subject: USPTO, Microsoft seek to kill WIPO meeting on open collaborative
      models to develop public goods
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 13:27:50 -0400

August 19, 2003. Technology Daily PM Edition

Intellectual Property
Global Group's Shift On 'Open Source' Meeting Spurs Stir
by William New

A request for a meeting on open development issues has plunged the
Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) into a
Washington political battle, causing it to shift its position on the

At issue is whether WIPO should hold a meeting next year on "open and
collaborative projects" such as "open source" software, which allows
users to view and modify underlying code.

The meeting was proposed in a July 7 letter sent to WIPO Director
General Kamil Idris by 68 distinguished scientists, academics,
technologists, open-source advocates, consumer advocates, librarians,
industry representatives and economists worldwide.

Although the letter cited a broad range of open collaborative projects
such as the World Wide Web and the Human Genome Project, the fight has
focused on open-source software and on one signer of the letter -- James
Love, director of the Consumer Project on Technology, who has actively
pushed for the meeting.

WIPO's initial response to the idea was so favorable that proponents
began planning for a meeting. After receiving the letter, Francis Gurry,
WIPO's assistant director and legal counsel, e-mailed a statement to a
Nature magazine reporter calling such open development models "a very
important and interesting development."

"The director general of WIPO looks forward with enthusiasm to taking up
the invitation to organize a conference to explore the scope and
application of these models as vehicles for encouraging innovation," he

But a few weeks later, WIPO backed off the idea. Gurry said he and other
WIPO officials received "many calls" from consumer groups, trade
associations, professional associations and representatives from

"What happened in the intervening weeks is that a request for an open
discussion on a range of 'projects' became transformed into an
increasingly domestically, as opposed to internationally, oriented,
polarized political and trade debate about one only of those 'projects',
namely open-source software," Gurry told National Journal's Technology
Daily on Tuesday. "In those circumstances, the possibility of conducting
a policy discussion on intellectual property of the sort that might be
appropriate for an international organization devoted to intellectual
property became increasingly remote."

U.S. government officials have argued that WIPO is an inappropriate
place for such a meeting.

One developing country representative to WIPO on Monday expressed
disappointment at hearing that the meeting is in doubt, and Love and
representatives from the Computer and Communications Industry
Association (CCIA) were furious to learn of the shift. Love last week
called the decision a "temporary setback," and vowed, "We're going to
make this happen." But for meeting opponents, he said, it would be "as
if you made an atheist pope for the day."

CCIA President Ed Black said on Tuesday: "Does this indicate that WIPO
is abdicating authority and responsibility for these issues, including
open source for the future? If so, we will all live by that, but then so
must they. They should step up the plate or step aside. ... It is
inexplicable that they would shut the door on what are clearly important

Intellectual Property
U.S. Official Opposes 'Open Source' Talks At WIPO
by William New

An international intellectual property body is not the place for
discussions about "open source" software, which allows users to view and
modify the underlying code, because it falls outside of the
organization's mission, a senior U.S. official argued on Monday.
Reviewing the original mission of the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO), said Lois Boland, the U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office (PTO) acting director of international relations, it is "clearly
limited to the protection of intellectual property. To have a meeting
whose primary objective is to waive or remove those protections seems to
go against the mission."

Boland was referring to a July request by a group of scientists,
academics, open-source advocates and others for a meeting at WIPO on
"open and collaborative projects," including open-source software. The
WIPO secretariat initially replied favorably to the idea.
In a telephone interview, Boland gave several reasons why the
Geneva-based WIPO should not hold the meeting, including a tight budget
and late scheduling. She also said WIPO's agenda should be driven by
member nations, and the idea came from outside the organization.
Officials from the 179 WIPO nations will convene in late September to
decide their agenda for the next two years; the agenda has been in the
works for months and does not include open-development issues. "It would
have been somewhat unusual for such a meeting to materialize out of
nothing," Boland said.

In the past six months, WIPO has had to cancel several meetings on
topics directly relevant to the organization due to budgetary issues,
she said, adding that with those problems, the organization should not
"go out on a limb and express receptivity" to an open-development meeting.
U.S. government officials have had "informal" communications with WIPO,

Boland said. A WIPO official said that since receiving a wide range of
communications, WIPO has stepped back from the idea of a meeting but has
not fully rejected the possibility of addressing the topic.

The U.S. government has an interagency process for developing formal
positions at WIPO. A meeting that included officials from PTO and the
Copyright Office was held last Thursday at the State Department. The
Commerce Department and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative are part
of the interagency process, too.

Boland said the United States "would certainly have some rather
bureaucratic objections" to WIPO considering a policy on open-source
software. "There are technical and legalistic arguments to that."
Open-source software is not protected under copyright law but only
contract law, which is not the domain of WIPO, she said. That point has
been heavily disputed by copyright experts.

Boland suggested that the U.S. government supports open-source growth as
a development tool and she proposed it for consideration by a U.N. body
focused on development.

She also reprimanded WIPO officials for publicly giving the impression
that the body might consider open-source issues. "We think people
working within the organization need to be better stewards of
interactions" with nonprofit groups and other non-member organizations,
she said.

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