The past twelve months have seen growing global discontent over the priority shown in US foreign policy to the interests of intellectual property holders, over broader public interests in access to knowledge, access to medicines, and communications rights.
This discontent has been fueled by the justifiable perception that the voice of ordinary consumers is often trivialised and dismissed by US policymakers. Consumers feel that their legitimate concerns will never be given any weight against the submissions of the well-funded IP-holder lobby groups.
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.
3D Trade-Human Rights-Equitable Economy, a Geneva-based NGO, and IBON Foundation submitted a paper entitled The Philippines: Impact of copyright rules on access to education to the Pre-Sessional Working Group of the Committee on the Rights of the Child last June 2009.
Consumers International's inaugural IP Watch List, released this week, revealed that there are a number of less developed countries providing an example for the rest of the world of how to balance copyright owners' interests with consumers' access to knowledge. But judging from the latest United States' Special 301 Report, also just released, this is an insight that US policy makers still lack.
The launch of the IP Watch List is to be held in conjunction with the upcoming Unlocking IP conference held by the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre of UNSW. However you don't need to register to attend the conference in order to attend just the launch, so long as you RSVP to let the organisers know you are coming by emailing Sophia Christou.
The address is:
University of New South Wales Kensington Campus