[Ip-health] Sign Wash Declaration on IP and Public Interest

Sean Flynn sflynn at wcl.american.edu
Tue Sep 6 13:46:34 PDT 2011

Sign now at: http://infojustice.org/washington-declaration

With the U.S. round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)
underway in Chicago, intellectual property and information policy
experts from around the world have released a Washington Declaration on
Intellectual Property and the Public Interest that challenges the
dominant direction of the negotiations on intellectual property in U.S.
trade agreements.


The Declaration was created through a consultative process with over 180
experts from 35 countries in six continents at the Global Congress on
Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, August 25-27 at American
University Washington College of Law.


Citing an "unprecedented expansion of the concentrated legal authority
exercised by intellectual property rights holders" through recent trade
agreements, the experts call for new efforts to "re-articulate the
public interest dimension in intellectual property law and policy."


The Declaration's recommendations are guided by two overarching points.


First, "International intellectual property policy affects a broad range
of interests within society, not just those of rights holders." The
Declaration thus concludes that "intellectual property policy making
should be conducted through mechanisms of transparency and openness that
encourage broad public participation." In direct opposition to the
procedures being followed for the TPPA, where negotiations are being
conducted behind closed doors over text never released to the public,
the Declaration calls for intellectual property agreements to be made
only "within the existing forums responsible for intellectual property
policy, where both developed and developing countries have full
representation, and where the texts of and forums for considering
proposals are open." And in a challenge to the U.S. position that it
will enter the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement without
congressional approval, the Declaration calls for all international
intellectual property agreements to "be subject to democratic checks and
balances, including domestic legislative approval."


The Declaration's second major theme is that "markets alone cannot be
relied upon to achieve a just allocation of information goods - that is,
one that promotes the full range of human values at stake in
intellectual property systems." A full range of policies to promote
public interest values must include, it explains in detail,

*    the use of other legal doctrines, like human rights and consumer
protection laws, to cabin intellectual property rights expansion,

*    promotion of open access, open educational resources, open
government and related open information policies;

*    strengthening limitations and exceptions that are needed to promote
creativity, innovation and other socially beneficial uses of information
and its products

*    setting public interest priorities in patent reform, including a
more diverse structure of incentives for innovation;

*    supporting cultural creativity through experimentation with new
systems to reward and empower authors with, instead of in opposition to,
new technologies for information diffusion;

*    checking excesses in intellectual property enforcement with more
safeguards, procedural fairness and proportionality in enforcement in
our courts, at borders and on the internet;

*    implementing development agendas, which take account of the
economic, social and cultural development interests of all countries,
throughout international intellectual property policy making; and

*    requiring evidence, "rather than faith or ideology," to be the core
of all policy-making.


The Declaration is now open for signature, including by individuals not
part of the meeting itself.


Sean M Fiil Flynn

Associate Director

Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) 

American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW 
Washington, D.C. 20016
(202) 274-4157            


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