France, US, Switzerland Block WIPO Membership for Pirates

Back in August, we mentioned that Pirate Parties International (PPI) – the international pirate party NGO – was poised to join the World intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) as an observer member.

The membership application, which had the apparent backing of the WIPO Secretary General, was deferred until next year due to concern by some member-countries.

A report from Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) director Jamie Love has stated that the membership application was put off until 2013, apparently at the request of the French, American and Swiss members.

This morning, under agenda item 6, the WIPO General Assemblies decided to defer a decision until 2013 on the application for accreditation by Pirate Parties International. I was told that the US, Switzerland the France raised objections in the informal consultations, and that some other European countries wanted to raise objections, but found it awkward given the recent success of domestic Pirate Parties in national elections. The USA said it asked for a hold on the decision until WIPO could decide if it wanted to accept political parties as WIPO observers. One delegate said European countries were concerned that the Pirate Parties would take “political action” back home when they disagreed with positions taken by the official delegates at the WIPO meetings.

What makes this unusual is the fact that PPI is not itself a political party. It’s an association of parties, but is registered as a Belgian NGO like many other WIPO observer-members.

Thus the American concerns seem to be based on misinformation (but many would say ‘what’s new‘ when it comes to WIPO). Meanwhile the other concerns seem to be equally curious. Many WIPO members have taken political action in response to WIPO proceedings, including leaks of ACTA documents.

The PPI was unaware of the proceedings when TorrentFreak contacted them regarding the KEI notes this morning.

“Unfortunately we didn’t get any notification from WIPO,” Denis Simonet (PPI Board member and the lead on the membership application) told TorrentFreak.

“So we don’t know more than what everyone can read over the Internet. This is surprising because we fulfill all the requirements and the secretary general even recommended acceptance of our application, we’re working on getting more information from WIPO,” he added.

Meanwhile KEI is using the decision for their own political action, highlighting the revolving door between the WIPO and corporate interests, as the US delegate proposed a means to ease access to WIPO delegates and officers for Corporate CEOs; something not planned for public interest or consumer groups.

It is just as well KEI had their membership approved before they too were seen as a significant political threat with their political action really, else we’d never know about things (Like ACTA).

The fear of the pirate movement is clearly growing among entrenched bureaucrats, so while they may not always succeed at the polls, they’ve got some people scared.


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