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08.20.09

WIPO: By the Elites, for the Elites

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Patents at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Pharmaceutical companies are enjoying unprecedented profits and access with this Administration. Yet the Republicans’ prescription drug plan for seniors has been a colossal failure, and over 43 million Americans wake up every morning without health insurance.“

Jim Clyburn

Summary: WIPO does not give a voice to the people and life is meanwhile being patented, too

NOT SO long ago, we wrote about the potential purposes of intellectual monopolies such as patents. Glyn Moody wished to call them “a neo-colonialist plot to ensure the continuing dominance of Western nations.”

“The WTO is similar in quite a few ways as it is using economic sanctions and strangulation to pressure nations to accept servitude, not to gain leadership.”It is true that bodies like WIPO are hostile towards Free software and independence; WIPO was never really created to defend human rights [1, 2, 3, 4] as its implicit goal is human subjugation which affects the developing world very negatively. WIPO is a case of industry for industry (or rich people for other rich people, including themselves). The WTO is similar in quite a few ways as it is using economic sanctions and strangulation to pressure nations to accept servitude, not to gain leadership. These bodies offer plenty of warmth to those backing them (financially) but also a lot of tough “acceptance” to those who must accept their existence. Richard Stallman took it further when he said: “The European Patent Office is a corrupt, malicious organisation. It should not exist [...] If they [the EPO] stand in your way, get rid of it too. [...] Every government institution only deserves as much respect as it earned. [...] The idea of the European Union was a beautiful idea, the practical implementation tries to impose a new constitution by pretending it’s not a constitution.“

A person from The Free Software Foundation Europe has just written about bitter experiences with WIPO — bitter in the sense that WIPO is overloaded by influence and agenda of those whom it serves. WIPO does not properly represent the population, no more than the MPAA and RIAA represent singers and fans as opposed to labels, lawyers, and moguls.

Fresh air at WIPO, but old habits die hard

[...]

The result of all this was that despite excellent high-level speakers from international organisations, the conference ended up mainly representing the positions of those who have long been in control at WIPO: Governments of the US, the EU and Japan, along with large industrial rightsholders. There were hardly any industry stakeholders from developing countries, and no public interest NGOs represented among the speakers.

By not including the broader picture, WIPO has missed out on the best opportunity in years to demonstrate that it wants to play a productive role in helping humanity to manage its knowledge wisely. There clearly are good intentions in the organisation. Now WIPO only needs to act on them.

The above criticism is gentle and constructive. It is becoming a matter of some urgency, however, now that even human life is being patented. There is new conversation in Australia about ending this shameless practice of gene patenting. [via Glyn Moody, also covered here]

A BID to halt the controversial patenting of human genes will be launched before a Senate committee next week, when experts will argue that the practice is akin to patenting the moon and is strangling vital research.

About 20 per cent of human genes are already patented in the US. The issue sparked alarm in Australia last year when a Melbourne-based company that owned rights to a gene mutation that causes breast cancer ordered all other laboratories to stop performing the $2100 test.

This has got to stop. Even people’s biology is now becoming the ownership of corporations who can demand a form of ransom. Where is President Obama in all this? Well, apparently staving off DDoS attacks incurred by the output of Microsoft Windows zombies (SPAM).

Obama site smackdown spam only offers malware

[...]

Spam messages offering links to a tool designed to knock out the website of President Obama lead only to dodgy software.

The need for reform is evident. Why are no steps being taken to stop harmful patents, for starters? And why is the Harmful Patents Web site down/unavailable at the moment?

Girl and board

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