Did WIPO Get Cool? UN IPR Agency Joins Creative Commons Initiative 17/09/2015 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The World Intellectual Property Organization exists to protect and promote intellectual property rights, including copyright. As a large international organisation, it is also a producer of a great amount of data and information that users around the world want to access. In this week’s Program and Budget Committee (PBC) meeting, the WIPO Secretariat has included mention of a Creative Commons-based project it is joining, as part of “The WIPO Open Access Policy”. The small reference to the project is found in item 19.4.iii on page 130 of the hefty document WO/PBC/24/11. It states: “(iii) Widening access. The WIPO Open Access policy – supported by Creative Commons licensing tools – will be rolled out on the website. A new comprehensive, text-searchable, online publication platform (launched in 2015 together with print-on-demand) will make all WIPO publications and studies freely and easily available online, including facilitating access to different language versions. Archived WIPO publications will be digitized and added to the collection. Alternative formats of WIPO flagship titles will be explored for wider accessibility, and to build on WIPO’s commitments to accessible publishing. In the Library, as many ebooks and journals as possible will be made available in electronic format for WIPO staff and visitors. The WIPO Depository Library program will continue to respond to requests from developing countries for printed and digital IP reference materials.” Asked about the programme, a WIPO press officer downplayed it a bit, saying it is part of a broader initiative of various international agencies of which WIPO is one. At press time, details of the broader initiative were not available. In general, WIPO has worked in recent years to boost access and use of its materials. A search of “Open Access Policy” on the WIPO website does not turn up a direct reference to the initiative. Creative Commons, CC, founded in 2001, was a new kind of copyright licence that allows users to reuse content without asking permission, under certain terms, such as for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to the original and without making changes to it. It has become popular and commonplace worldwide as a way to encourage use and sharing of information. Intellectual Property Watch publishes under a CC licence 4.0. This is not the first time WIPO has wrangled with Creative Commons issues. It had one of the founders of the CC licence, Larry Lessig, in to speak a few years ago. Predictably, Lessig went big picture and called on WIPO to lead an overhaul of the global copyright system (IPW, WIPO, 5 November 2010). Which has not really happened, but WIPO’s director general some months later did make an ambitious call for change in the copyright system (IPW, WIPO, 15 March 2011). WIPO is heavily lobbied by the copyright industry, as pictured on the WIPO Observers page here. It is not known how they view WIPO’s efforts to provide greater access to its products and services. And of course, there is also strong representation from other constituents at WIPO as well. Meanwhile, with regard to WIPO’s biggest revenue source and function, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the organisation states on its website that it provides “public access to a wealth” of information about inventions and patents. See the PCT webpage here. Of course, the 2007 WIPO Development Agenda includes among its 45 Recommendations several relating to boosting the public domain and access to knowledge, see Cluster B here. And WIPO has been negotiating treaties on limitations and exceptions to copyright for several years. Separately, while on the issue of open source the agency might be said to be a bit clunky, it has evolved since the days when those words could hardly be spoken aloud in the institution. It does have a webpage dedicated to the issue, here, but it seems somewhat awkward and outdated. Still, it links to groups such as the Free Software Foundation and others, and attempts to work through the issue. All part of the evolution of IP! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Did WIPO Get Cool? UN IPR Agency Joins Creative Commons Initiative" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.