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Re: [wg-b] Deep concern re: ICANN use of WIPO Standing Committee
> At 9:26 AM -0500 12/16/99, Cade,Marilyn S - LGA wrote:
> >Can we agree to work on a definition, using WIPO's Standing Committee's
> >and perhaps other well accepted legal texts? Marilyn
> Mikki Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org responded:
> I don't agree with using WIPO's work when its own "Board of Experts"
> disagreed with it.
I think Mikki's message points out a fundamental problem with using WIPO's
Standing Committee -- that the noncommercial, small business and individual
communities (80-90 percent of the DNS) does not have contact with the WIPO
Standing Committee. Because we haven't followed this committee or provided
input into it, some basic questions come to mind: Is the WIPO Standing
Committee the same official entity as the WIPO Staff that wrote the WIPO
Final Report or something else? Do the recommendations of the WIPO Standing
Committee have the force of treaty -- or are they ideas being floated to
member countries for eventual inclusion in treaties?
I respect WIPO, but in the DNS debate, WIPO is not a neutral forum. That's
not a criticism, it is a fact of WIPO's mandate. Quoting from its own
website (wipo.int), "WIPO is an international organization dedicated to
helping to ensure that the rights of creators and owners of intellectual
property are protected worldwide ...." WIPO administers 21 treaties, all
involving intellectual property (again from website)"(15 on industrial
property and 6 on copyright)." WIPO does not administer the treaties which
provide the protections that balance intellectual property with free speech
and open communication (including the human rights treaties which imbed
protections for noncommercial use).
So WIPO does not speak with the voice or for the interests of the
noncommercial and individual communities. Nor is WIPO noncontroversial among
is own member countries. When I attended the Second Consultative Meeting of
Domain Names and Trademarks in Sept 1997, in Geneva at WIPO, I heard
government delegates from developing countries express deep concern and even
fight with WIPO staff over proposals for protection for existing marks in
domain names which they viewed as protecting existing large businesses
(mostly in NAmr and Western Eur. countries) at the expense of emerging
businesses in developing countries.
So to Marilyn Cade and others, I would respond: please share with us your
understanding of the WIPO Standing Committee, its members and background, and
its definitions and results. Please give us a sense of the legal
international standing of these materials. And if they are recommendations
and guidelines to WIPO member countries, then let's use them as such here.