Jeremy Malcolm's blog
WIPO is currently receiving public comments on the proposed treaty for the blind, visually impaired and other reading-disabled persons. This is potentially of immense importance, being the first time that consideration has been given to lightening the restrictive international copyright regime by including new minimum flexibilities, beginning with the very deserving case of the blind. You are encouraged to post your own comments to WIPO using the link above. Consumers International's comment, pending moderation, is as follows:
The United States Trade Representative has just released its 2010 Special 301 Report, which is an annual report card for how strongly other countries enforce the intellectual property rights of United States rights holders - rather like the converse of our IP Watchlist, which was released last week and focuses on how well a country's copyright laws advance the interests of consumers.
On 21-22 April, Kuala Lumpur hosted a gathering of 36 Consumers International members and partners for its first global meeting on Access to Knowledge. The meeting included the launches of CI's 2010 IP Watchlist, which has since gained much media interest, and our runaway hit short film When Copyright Goes Bad, which has since accumulated almost 50 thousand page views in English and Spanish.
This true story is brought to us from a small business of architects in Mexico, by our Mexican member Colectiva Ecologista Jalisco. The relevance of this story to consumers comes in the very compelling conclusion that the author reaches at the end.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Washington today about the Obama administration's commitment to promoting online rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and access to knowledge - and, as a necessary precondition, access to the Internet itself. In her speech she said:
According to a press release issued by Microsoft last week to announce its "Consumer Action Day" against counterfeit software, "consumers want action", and are relying on Microsoft to "give people a voice in the fight against software counterfeiting". Whilst we do agree that counterfeiting of any kind can endanger consumers when they believe they are purchasing original products, we have to question Microsoft's credentials to represent consumers' interests here.
Consumers International and the African Copyright and A2K Project (ACA2K) this week held a successful workshop looking at the Global State of Copyright and Access to Knowledge at the 2009 meeting of the multi-stakeholder United Nations Internet Governance Forum in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. The session was moderated by Dr Bassem Awad from ACA2K, who is also Chief Judge at the Egyptian Ministry of Justice.
Responding to the pressures of the culture industry lobby, a huge international coalition has come together to urge respect for the civil rights of citizens and artists in the digital era.
Today we are disseminating throughout the world the Charter of the Culture Forum of Barcelona for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge.
CI believes that a knowledge society can be developed only when access to knowledge is unhampered and inclusive, and that the role of consumer organisations in making this possible is vital. To this end, we have developed a concise survey of consumers designed to pinpoint where the barriers that prevent consumers from accessing knowledge lie.