The End of WIPO?

Last week's WIPO General Assembly is being rightly billed a major victory – the development agenda will continue with all issues on the table, while a diplomatic conference on a proposed Broadcasting Treaty has been made contingent on two prior meetings and the resolution of all outstanding issues (a marked departure from where things stood just a couple of weeks ago).

These developments – combined with the increased access and input from public interest groups into the WIPO process as well as the willingness of developing countries to assert positions that differ from the maximalist approach favoured by the U.S. and the WIPO secretariat – suggest that we may see a decreased emphasis on WIPO in the future.  As a consensus-based organization, WIPO appears to be stalemated.  I suspect that the member countries that have used WIPO as a forum for steadily increasing copyright protection are likely to increasingly turn their attention elsewhere.  The WTO is one such place (particularly for countries such as Russia and China) and bi-lateral trade treaties are the other.  This is particularly relevant in a Canadian context since the bi-lateral pressure from the U.S. on copyright is going to be far stronger than anything that even CRIA could muster.  The dangers associated with WIPO may be diminishing, but the fervour for increased copyright protection will no doubt continue.

One Comment

  1. Failing grades at WIPO…
    Perhaps WIPO, the organization requires a complete ‘re-think’. After several decades virtuallly ALL of the special interest ‘industry’ Agendas – be them pro copyright industries, pro patent owner protection, pro ‘nice’ classification of goods, or any of the 20+ other treaties (with wording crafted majorly by lawyers in the US) – by percentage, the number of member countries who actually have ‘signed agreement’ to the treaties out of 180+ member states ALL are dismal failures in that the perecentages mostly fall below a passing grade of 51%… IT’s no wonder that the peaceful advancement of developing nations is the ONLY thing the WIPO member nations can agree on, even though they cannot find common ground as to the ‘how’. The idea of rolling the whole mess onto Washington’s WTO shoulders is an intriguing one… At least the world will know there’s no ‘membership’ or consensus per se. The dichotomy of an Elephant stepping lightly midst a sea of mice comes to mind.