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Gilberto Gil at WIPO

By now half the world, okay only half of those who are interested in Intellectual Property issues, have posted about Brazilian Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil‘s statements at the World Intellectual Property Organization this week.

Intellectual Property Watch has posted an interview with Gil in which he talks about his own use of Creative Commons licenses for his music, about being a “government functionary” and ultimately about his takes on IP and WIPO.

The WIPO/Gil story gets detail treatment from CPTech bloggers in Geneva where Gil is quoted as saying:

We are living a historical moment when, more than ever, intellectual property deserves to be the object of a debate that corresponds to the breadth and complexity that this subject has acquired. We have seen that a number of sectors of the international community has become increasingly aware of the importance of discussing intellectual property in all its aspects, particularly its effects on social and economic development, as illustrated by the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.

It is clear to us that development will only be ensured if there is a balance between intellectual property rights and obligations and the public interest, as had been highlighted by the Ambassador of Argentina, on behalf of the Group of Friends of Development. If such balance is lost we will violate the nature of knowledge itself: we should never forget Thomas Jefferson’s words, according to which there would not be any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property than ideas, whose sharing does not necessarily harm anyone….

The Brazilian Government is concerned with the fact that the Basic Proposal for a Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations, approved by the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, remains the object of disagreements and had not been able to please the majority of Members, both developed and developing.

Should this Assembly confirm the convening of a Diplomatic Conference with a view to finalizing the Treaty, we must be aware that many questions remain to be solved after several years of hard work on the subject, shedding doubt on the very opportunity of such a negotiating exercise.

The Brazilian Government calls for the Assembly to hold reasonable and comprehensive discussions on this subject. If the Diplomatic Conference is ultimately confirmed by this Assembly, notwithstanding many pending issues, we will be consciously assuming the risk of another failure at WIPO, repeating the outcome of the Diplomatic of the year 2000, meant to approve a new audiovisual treaty.

At the international level, many different organizations are already engaged in assessing the impacts of intellectual property. The UN, UNESCO, WTO, WHO, CBD, UNCTAD and many others have been contributing to the debate on intellectual property and development.

1 Comment

  1. Certainly a thorny issue. I really think there should be more government-sponsored research or patent licensing of this nature, to help resolve the dichotomy between commerical and philanthropic interests. This same exact issue exists with respect to vaccines and developing nations.


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