Debate over inclusion of IP in NETmundial Outcome Document


Published on 24 April 2014 @ 10:11 pm

By for Intellectual Property Watch

Final decisions are pending if and how intellectual property protection should be covered in the outcome document of the NetMundial meeting in Sao Paolo, which comes to a close tonight.

During today’s intensive discussions over NetMundial’s final outcome document, the representative of the French government and several representatives from the private sector proposed to add the protection of not only authors, but creators.

“We believe that we cannot consider creation when creators cannot live off what they do,” said David Martinon, negotiator on information society issues for the French Foreign Ministry.

France’s proposal includes IP protection online in the same way as offline and “the sincere cooperation of all stakeholders against online content piracy.” Similar proposals were made by the Motion Picture Association and 20th Century Fox.

Civil rights and open source activists, meanwhile, were hesitant to elevate IP beyond the non-exclusive human rights list included in the draft outcome document.

In their own meeting, civil society on Monday worded their take on the possible inclusion of IP protection. In the section on the right to participate in cultural life on the internet, the groups supported the inclusion of: “everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. This protection must be balanced with the larger public interest and human rights, including the rights to education, freedom of expression and information and the right to privacy.”

It was still open as to whether a compromise wording that reads “Creativity should be promoted and protection of the moral and material interests resulting from such works should be respected” would ultimately be included.

Some commenters warned against far-reaching clauses. A representative from the Indian Free and Open Source Community cautioned, that injecting IP could impede free flow of data. IP expert Jeremy Malcolm also questioned the need to include IP rights in the list of human rights mentioned by the principles part of the outcome document. If it would be added anyway, Malcolm recommended to also include a qualification “to reflect the balance private rights with the broader public interest.”

Meanwhile, the outcome document potentially should be published as a “rough consensus” of NetMundial instead of only a “chair’s report”, Swiss government representative Thomas Schneider suggested, using a term from the internet standardization world.

Declaring it a chair’s document “would be a great pity.” the representative of the Australian government, Keith Besgrove, said. “It is much more than that. It’s the product of an awful lot of input form an awful lot of stakeholders.”


How the conference will label its outcome document was still open as were some parts of the text, especially on net neutrality, intermediary liability, mass surveillance and more. Stay tuned.

Issues: Copyright

The Geneva Internet Platform is an initiative of the Swiss authorities


Members of the Steering Committee are FDFA, OFCOM and the Canton of Geneva

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