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2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

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9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

Ten Questions About Internet Governance

On April 23 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the “Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance,” also known as “NETmundial” in an allusion to the global football event that will occur later in that country, will be convened. Juan Alfonso Fernández González of the Cuban Communications Ministry and a veteran of the UN internet governance meetings, raises 10 questions that need to be answered at NETmundial.


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    Internet Governance Forum: ACTA A Possible Show-Stopper For IP Progress

    Published on 14 December 2008 @ 9:37 pm

    Intellectual Property Watch

    By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch
    The third annual United Nations-led Internet Governance Forum in Hyderabad, India this month addressed a range of topics related to intellectual property rights and the free flow of information, and provided a venue for doubts about a closed-door international anti-counterfeiting treaty negotiation being led by the United States and Japan.

    The proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) intended to align governments in their fights against illicit trade, might have the effect of stopping more positive developments in intellectual property law that emerged over the last year, warned Eddan Katz, international affairs director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    Developments related to IP were presented in several workshops by the dynamic coalitions on access to knowledge and open standards. Once again IP issues did not make it to the main sessions of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), and IP was not mentioned more than three or four times in the main sessions rather ephemerally, with the exception of ACTA.

    Brazilian diplomat Everton Lucero in a main session warned against ACTA as a negative example of the contrary to what is seen as the major success model of the IGF: multi-stakeholder cooperation between governments, industry and civil society and also the so-called “enhanced cooperation.” “In fact [ACTA] is the worst example,” Lucero told Intellectual Property Watch.

    Both concepts – enhanced cooperation” and “multi-stakeholderism” – are a result of the discussions of the 2003-2005 UN-led World Summit on the Information Society, and enhanced cooperation was introduced late in the debate by the European Union to reflect the demand for changes away from the single-handed oversight by the US government of the internet domain name system (DNS) to a more international mechanism.

    “Enhanced cooperation” has been interpreted differently by signatories of the WSIS documents since. “Multi-stakeholderism” on the other hand has had a nice carrier finding its way into other fora like the OECD.

    ACTA, on the other hand, indicates “a pattern of behaviour of some governments which openly defend multi-stakeholderism, democracy and inclusion, but prefer to follow restricted, behind-doors, exclusive arrangements to negotiate new legal instruments,” said Lucero. The restricted negotiations of ACTA will make later adoption in Brazil difficult, he warned. The same was true for the Council of Europe’s Cybercrime Convention, he said.

    “In principle, we do not adhere easily to conventions that we have not participated in the negotiation process,” Lucero said in the IGF session on enhanced cooperation. “We should avoid coming up with a model restricted to a few, like ACTA,” said Lucero, “and, please, let’s also avoid models driven by one single government, like ICANN.”

    Lucero told Intellectual Property Watch that his administration was informed that ACTA would not be finalised this year. The next meeting of ACTA negotiators was planned for 15 December in Paris. But Katz said, “According to our information there is still a plan to push this through.” ACTA will work against much of the recent progress in IP issues seen at the multilateral level, he said, adding, “So, stop ACTA.”

    Recommendation on Standards Definition

    One of the more concrete steps at the IGF was taken by the “Dynamic Coalition on Open Standards” in releasing an “Agreement on Procurement in Support of Interoperability and Open Standards.” The agreement can be adopted by governments, publicly funded and non-profit organisations that want to “promote interoperability and accessibility through the use of open standards.”

    The coalition based the agreement on the “open standard” definition contained in the European Union’s draft European Interoperability Framework, which defines that open standards are adopted and maintained by non-profit organisations, are freely available or come at a nominal charge, can be used on a royalty free basis and can be re-used. [IDABC EIF v2 draft available here.]

    Governments, publicly funded and non-profit institutions under the coalition agreement would “create a policy statement on interoperability and open standards, to be available to employees and the public” and implement procurement policies supportive of open standard products by 2010.

    By 2010 all “public facing web sites” according to the agreement should conform to World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards (html-, xml-related standards) and data storage and archives should be in open data and document formats.

    The adoption of the agreement by the coalition was a positive outcome from the IGF according to Aslam Raffee, chair of the South African government’s open-source software (OSS) working group. It was also one of the few formal recommendations adopted by a dynamic coalition or workshop in the IGF so far. There is ongoing discussion over whether recommendations should be adopted by the IGF despite the forum’s declared status as a non-decision making body.

    Way Forward or Way Out for IGF?

    Nitin Desai, special advisor to the UN secretary general on internet governance issues, asked in a session on IGF’s way forward: “Can we design something where, at least in a few limited, well-defined areas, a process has succeeded in narrowing differences?”

    While the forum was seen in the first place as a “process of dialogue and discussion (that) helps in reaching decisions elsewhere,” and “second track diplomacy,” Desai acknowledged that there now is pressure “to move on” from talk and “do something.” The IGF also faces an evaluation that will inform the UN Secretary General and the UN Council in 2010 before their decision to extend the mandate of the IGF or discontinue it.

    The last meeting planned for now will be held in Lithuania in November 2010. The 2009 meeting will be hosted by Egypt and take place in Sharm El Sheikh on 15-18 November.

    Meanwhile, the open standards coalition co-organised two workshops in Hyderabad in which developments on the Open Document Format (ODF) standard were discussed. Aslam Raffee reported in a workshop on Knowledge as a Global Public Good that beginning in 2009 the use of the ODF will be the default option throughout government agencies. At an ODF workshop earlier this year the “Southern Coalition” (including Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay, South Africa and Venezuela) passed a joint statement that criticises the rejection of appeals of their countries with regard to the International Standards Organisation standardisation process on Microsoft’s OOXML, a standard overlapping with ODF, according to critics. The ISO acceptance of OOXML standardisation spurred a debate about possible reforms of the standardisation process.

    WTO Agreement on Trade in Public Goods?

    Movement with regard to a positive agenda on norm-setting in multilateral organisation such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Health Organization was reported by Thiru Balasubramaniam of Knowledge Ecology International at the global public good session, pointing to the development agenda at WIPO and the steps taken by the WHO “Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property”. There was a rethinking of patents and standards in the WIPO Standing Committee on Patent Law that previously had focussed primarily on pushing for harmonisation in substantive patent law.

    The next step on the road for collective action to address what he called the chronic under-supply of knowledge as a public good is to request the World Trade Organization to consider the creation of a new agreement on public goods, modelled after the WTO Agreement on Trade in Services. “We think that that this is the right place to deal with that issue of the global public good,” Balasubramaniam said.

    A WIPO workshop focused on rights management technology to which WIPO is seeking to draw attention. While technical protection measures are somewhat “out,” rights management is necessary, for example to allow collecting societies to correctly channel remuneration to millions of authors and rights holders, said panel speakers. “This is about content and finding content, not about copyright,” said Carolyn Morgan of Copyright Agency Limited in Australia.

    Even people who do not want to benefit from the copyright system or want to use Creative Commons licences need this kind of system, she said. “It also allows users access to public domain content,” said Richard Owen, director of the WIPO Copyright E-Commerce Technology and Management Division.

    Alternatives to technical protection measures are being considered. Rights management systems allow metatagging copyright information to a file about allowed use and about billing information. Morgan and Nic Garnett, ex-manager of the Recording Industry Association of America and CEO of Interright, presented various technical systems for metatags and various methods for linking them to files. Metadata systems were for example the ISO International Standard Text Code (ISTC) or Online Information eXchange (ONIX), said Morgan.

    Australian publishers for example, invested a lot of money in introducing ONIX. For identifying rights owners there are the Interested Party Identifier (IPI) and the International Standards Name Identifier (ISNI). To link data to the files, embedding or watermarking technologies are available, reported Morgan. But watermarking also would allow blocking unauthorised use like technical protection measures.

    Another standard is the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP) that intends to give information to search engine providers about access preference by the rights owners. ACAP, a joint venture between World Association of Newspapers (WAN), the European Publishers Council (EPC), the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the European Newspapers Association (ENPA) so far has not been implemented by major search engine providers like Google or Yahoo.

    Katz agreed on the goal of easy accessibility to content for users. But he pointed to the need for anonymous access and the respect for limitations on copyright.

    “There are all sorts of uses where you do not have to pay or which are permissible and paid for in a collective way,” reminded Katz. And while there is a market failure creating a need for good public servants’ help in the creation of metadata systems, “we need a public voice and the users’ side to be represented.”

    Intersessional Activities of Dynamic Coalitions

    Three new dynamic coalitions have been started since Rio: online collaboration, internet and climate change, and accessibility and disability. The latter two were initiated by the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which oversees the WSIS process.

    The additional coalitions brought the number of IGF dynamic coalitions to 13 plus the Stop Spam Alliance, and two new dynamic coalitions were announced during the meeting in Hyderabad: on the “internet of things” and on national and regional IGFs. While the new coalitions were welcomed by many there were also reports that existing coalitions were not as “dynamic” between the sessions as initiators had planned them to be.

    The Italian government, one of the strong backers of the Dynamic Coalition of the Internet Bill of Rights, invited all coalitions to an intersessional meeting in spring 2009 to prepare for the Egypt meeting where several of the coalitions would like to take on “rights and principles for the internet” as a major topic.

    Monika Ermert may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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