UN intellectual property watchdog launches online forum on information society

1 June 2005

The United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) today launched a two-week online forum designed to provide opportunities for all to engage and shape the emerging debate on the value of intellectual property protection in today’s information-driven society.

The United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) today launched a two-week online forum designed to provide opportunities for all to engage and shape the emerging debate on the value of intellectual property protection in today’s information-driven society.

In preparation for the second phase of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in November, the initiative is also part of WIPO’s continuing efforts to raise awareness about intellectual property issues, encourage debate and ensure that the intellectual property system is accessible, balanced and responsive to the needs of all stakeholders.

“WIPO is looking forward to a lively and extensive debate in the online forum," WIPO Deputy Director General Rita Hayes said.

Discussion themes in the forum, which runs until 15 June, include the support intellectual property (IP) can give to the vision that the first phase of the WSIS expressed in its 2003 Declaration of Principles; whether IP is a help or hindrance to freedom of expression and creativity; the relation between IP, on the one hand, and the public domain and the open access models of creating information, on the other.

WIPO also asks: how can traditional communities preserve their cultural and intellectual diversity in the information society? Are emerging business models for distributing intellectual property online an opportunity or a threat?

Forum participants could also propose the role IP could play in forming global partnerships to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), targets established in 2000 to reduce or eliminate a spectrum of social and economic ills by 2015, WIPO said.

The conclusions will be included in its contribution to WSIS, it said, adding that “WIPO will not moderate the Forum, although any obscene or off-topic comments will be removed.”

Meanwhile, it released a report recommending the introduction of a uniform IP protection mechanism to tighten curbs on unauthorized registration of generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). The existing gTLDs are .com, .org, .net, .mil, .gov and .edu.

“The report confirms the need for effective IP protection mechanisms to prevent new gTLDs from turning into cyber squatting havens and recommends that mechanisms should: be effective and minimize the potential for abuse; take account of rights and interests of third parties; and be practicable and straightforward in order to avoid undue delays in the introduction or functioning of new gTLDs,” it says.

 

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