China blocks Wikimedia Foundation’s application to become an observer at WIPO | Knowledge Ecology International

“On Wednesday, 23 September 2020, China blocked Wikimedia Foundation’s application to become an observer at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)….

[China said,] There is reason to believe that this foundation has been carrying out political activities through its member organizations which could undermine the state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, therefore, it is not fitting for the foundation to serve as an observer to this professional organization….”

IFLA — Heritage cannot wait in the face of climate change: IFLA welcomes signatures to open letter on World IP Day

“IFLA, and partner organisations have launched an open letter to mark World Intellectual Property Day, 26 April 2020, underlining the need for copyright laws to support, rather than hinder, efforts to safeguard heritage in the face of climate change. Without action, nationally and internatinally, heritage institutions risk beng unable preserve their collections for the future. The letter is open for further endorsements….”

World IP Day: safeguard our cultural heritage | EIFL

” EIFL, together with the International Federation of Library Associations and institutions (IFLA), the International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the Society of American Archivists (SAA), are calling on WIPO and its Member States to respond to the need for international copyright laws that will empower these cultural institutions to prevent further loss of worldwide cultural heritage due to rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and other disasters linked to climate change….

One of the most effective ways of ensuring enduring access to library collections is to digitize the work, or if it is born-digital, to transfer it to a preservation-quality file format and to safely store the digital object off-site using cloud-based services, for example. But preservation strategies for digital materials always require the making of copies, and too many national copyright laws fail to allow digital preservation for copyright-protected material. …”

IFLA — IFLA Leads Open Letter on Intellectual Property and COVID-19

“Faced with the urgent need to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic and its consequences, it is vital to ensure that intellectual property laws and practices do not become a blockage. IFLA, working with its partners, has led in drafting an open letter to the Director General of WIPO to underline this point and call for action. UPDATE – over 312 organisations and individuals have now signed. …”

U.N. agency says coronavirus emergency could trump some patent rights – Reuters

“Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said that during an emergency, health and safety “trumps everything”.

World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that he backed a proposal by Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado to “create a pool of rights to tests, medicines and vaccines, with free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable terms for all countries”….”

World Intellectual property Organization DG Addresses COVID-19; Statement on Patent Sharing Due this Week | infojustice

“Outgoing Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Francis Gurry, made two public statements this week addressing what he termed the “policy issues” raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. His initial response was that it is “far too early” to address access to medicine and other IP policy issues raised by COVID-19. But in a follow up briefing with the press he revealed that he favors a “special mechanism to share drug patents” and would be releasing a statement or policy on the issue later this week….”

Gurry COVID Letter

“We write to you as organisations and individuals representing researchers, educators, students, and the institutions that support them, to encourage WIPO to take a clear stand in favour of ensuring that intellectual property regimes are a support, and not a hindrance, to efforts to tackle both the Coronavirus outbreak and its consequences….”

COVID-19: Call on WIPO to take a stand | EIFL

“EIFL worked with partner organizations in drafting an open letter to the Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Dr Francis Gurry, calling on WIPO to ensure that intellectual property (IP) systems are a support, not a hindrance, in global efforts to tackle the coronavirus crisis, and its consequences. The letter was signed initially by more than 140 organizations and individuals in 33 countries. Update 8 April: the letter has been endorsed by over 400 organizations and individuals in 45 countries.

The open letter highlights how the pandemic has shone a bright light on the importance of limitations and exceptions to IP rights to enable scientific discovery and human flourishing. For example, a Canadian text and data mining project that scoured copyrighted news articles, among other data, enabled researchers at a start-up company to send the first warnings to the world of the spread of the virus. The research was enabled by Canada’s flexible fair dealing right for research purposes. And the earliest potential treatments for the virus are being enabled by experimental use exceptions to patent rights on existing medicines….”

Looking back at 20 years of EIFL | EIFL

” “In an unprecedented initiative called ‘Electronic Information for Libraries’ (EIFL Direct), libraries in 39 countries will have access to a wealth of electronic full-text scholarly journals.” This announcement, by press release, marked the birth of EIFL 20 years ago, on 5 October 1999. 

At that time I was working at the Open Society Institute, part of the Soros foundations network. We were receiving applications from ex-Soviet Union university libraries requesting grants to subscribe to print journals. There was a dilemma: the subscriptions were not cheap, and they only lasted for one year. So these grants were not sustainable in the long term, and we knew that there were thousands of libraries in other developing countries that also needed, and wanted, to have access to the latest scholarly information. A few years later, the shift from print to digital in the publishing industry began and we saw an opportunity to solve the problem. The Open Society Institute negotiated with EBSCO, a large content aggregator, for a 99% discount to online journals for all libraries in countries where Soros foundations existed, as well as free delivery of the content on DVD-ROM to those libraries with poor internet connectivity. At last we were able to provide access to more than 3,500 full-text journals. …”

No borders on knowledge? WIPO debates key question | EIFL

“EIFL will join copyright experts, librarians, educators and government representatives in Geneva to debate a key question facing libraries, archives and museums today: will copyright barriers to accessing knowledge be removed?…

In developing countries, where easy access to knowledge is critical for education and socio-economic development, the situation is particularly acute. For example, out of 53 countries surveyed in Africa in the WIPO study by Professor Kenneth Crews, 13 countries have no exception for libraries, only one country allows inter-library document delivery, and no countries permit cross-border exchange. …”