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RE: [wg-b] Deep concern re: ICANN use of WIPO Standing Committee

Kathy et al,

My understanding of a WIPO standing committee is that it is made up of WIPO
members (i.e., countries) with NGOs usually permitted to attend the meetings
as observers that are allowed to make interventions after government
representatives have had their turn. NGOs can certainly distribute position
papers but only governments may submit papers to the standing committee. The
NGOs tend to sit in the back of the room behind the government reps. The
work of a standing committee is usually (but not always) related to the
preparation of a new treaty. The standing committee will meet several times
in an effort discuss the issues and reach consensus. Then a diplomatic
conference will be scheduled and the WIPO secretariat tries to draft a text
based on the work of the standing committee. NGOs tend to be thrown out of
the room once the diplomatic conference is convened so that governments can
start horse trading.

This is based on my limited experience in attending meetings of the standing
committee on copyright.


-----Original Message-----
From: KathrynKL@aol.com [mailto:KathrynKL@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 16, 1999 7:17 PM
To: ooblick@netpolicy.com; mcade@att.com
Cc: Harald@alvestrand.no; HartmanS@Nabisco.com; wg-b@dnso.org
Subject: Re: [wg-b] Deep concern re: ICANN use of WIPO Standing

>  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 
> work
>  >and perhaps other well accepted legal texts?  Marilyn
>  Mikki Barry at ooblick@netpolicy.com 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
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,
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.

Kathryn Kleiman