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Changing the

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)


The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is one of the 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations system of organisations. Its role is administrating 23 international treates dealing with different aspects of limited monopolies on knowledge.

According to its own web page, it is

"an international organization dedicated to promoting the use and protection of works of the human spirit. These works -- intellectual property -- are expanding the bounds of science and technology and enriching the world of the arts. Through its work, WIPO plays an important role in enhancing the quality and enjoyment of life, as well as creating real wealth for nations."

As explained in articles such as "Fighting intellectual poverty" or "On 'Intellectual Property' and Indigenous Peoples" on FSFEs web page -- as well as many others on the net -- the statement above did not match reality in the past. The Geneva Declaration states clearly how in the past WIPO has had a history of "intellectually weak, ideologically rigid, and sometimes brutally unfair and inefficient policies."

For anyone involved in questions of freedom in a digital age, such as Free Software Foundation Europe, WIPO is often at the root of current threats, such as software patents, the European Copyright Directive (EUCD) and others. When these come to a European or national level, we often find that little room for change exists.

Instead of reacting to legislative projects individually when they are passed down, Free Software Foundation Europe is proactively facilitating more useful legislation at its root, the global level, in which WIPO is one key player. For that reason, FSFE has requested observer status to WIPO in 2003, which was granted during the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO from September 27 to October 5, 2004.

Together with a global coalition of other players with similar goals, FSFE will work to change the "World Intellectual Property Organization" into a "World Intellectual Wealth Organisation."