WIPO outlines "Digital Agenda"

Subject: WIPO outlines "Digital Agenda"
From: Barbara Schleihagen (Eblida@nblc.nl)
Date: to 23 syys   1999 - 18:18:45 EEST

Press Release PR/99/185
Geneva, September 16, 1999


The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization
(WIPO), Dr. Kamil Idris, wrapped up the International Conference on
Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property on Thursday by presenting a
nine-point plan that sets out a Digital Agenda for WIPO. Some 700
participants from industry, government, and other interested groups took
part in the work of the Conference from September 14 to 16, 1999. An
additional 700 listeners tuned in to a special web audio transmission of
the proceedings.

WIPO's Digital Agenda, a set of guidelines and goals, is in line with the
Organization's determination to seek solutions to problems raised by the
impact of electronic commerce on intellectual property rights. It reflects
WIPO's desire to take practical steps to ensure that all countries
participate in the process of defining policy and addressing the issues in
order to adapt intellectual property law for the digital age.

The nine points of the WIPO Digital Agenda are:

1) Broaden the participation of developing countries through the use of
WIPONET and other means for:

- access to intellectual property information;

- participation in global policy formulation;

- opportunities to use intellectual property assets in electronic commerce.

WIPO will establish the WIPONET in the intellectual property offices of all
of its member States. This WIPONET covers the provision to all offices of
the necessary equipment(hardware and software) and dedicated Internet
connectivity to enable a truly global information structure and society.
WIPONET will allow for the provision of intellectual property-related
information and services from WIPO as well as information sharing between
offices, and will enable members of the public to benefit from this

2) Entry into force of the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO
Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) before December 2001.

WIPO will continue to strongly promote adherence to the WIPO "Internet
treaties," so that they may enter into force before December 2001. Thirty
ratifications or accessions are required before they enter into force. At
present nine countries have ratified the WCT and seven the WPPT. Entry into
force of these key treaties will promote basic standards of protection for
copyright and related rights on the Internet and other digital networks. At
the outset of the Conference, the United States of America deposited its
instruments of ratification to these two treaties.

3) Promote adjustment of the international legislative framework to
facilitate electronic commerce through:

- the extension of the principles of the WPPT to audiovisual performances;

- the adaptation of broadcasters' rights to the digital era;

- the review of the need for the conclusion of an international instrument
on the protection of databases.

The 1996 negotiations that led to the conclusion of the WCT and WPPT left
open the questions of a treaty or protocol to cover audiovisual
performances and the rights of broadcasters in the digital era. In
addition, further study must be given to the question of whether an
international instrument is needed concerning the protection of databases.
These issues are currently being addressed in WIPO Standing Committees.

4) Implement the recommendations of the Report of the Domain Name Process
and pursue the achievement of compatibility between identifiers in the real
and virtual worlds through the establishment of rules for mutual respect
and the elimination of contradictions between the domain name system and
intellectual property rights.

WIPO will continue its work aimed at curbing the abuse of trademarks on the
Internet, seeking to determine the appropriate balancing of rights between
intellectual property owners and the holders of domain names, and resolving
disputes that have arisen out of the interaction of the Internet domain
name system and the traditional system of intellectual property law.

5) Develop appropriate principles with the aim of establishing, at the
appropriate time at the international level, rules for determining the
circumstances of intellectual property liability of Online Service
Providers (OSPs) which are compatible and workable within a framework of
liability rules for OSPs.

WIPO plans to study the issue of the rules concerning liability including
the proper limitations for service providers who may face liability in
certain jurisdictions for infringements of intellectual property and other
laws in the course of providing connectivity services for users of the

6) Promote adjustment of the institutional framework for facilitating the
exploitation of intellectual property in the public interest in a global
economy and on a global medium through administrative coordination and,
where desired by users, the implementation of systems in respect of:

- the interoperability and interconnection of electronic copyright
management systems and the metadata of such systems;

- the online licensing of the digital expression of cultural heritage;

- the online administration of intellectual property disputes.

WIPO will explore possible coordination at the international level of
systems for copyright management on the digital networks including their
technical aspects and information on the protected works and the rights of
their owners. Due to the global nature of the Internet, any license of a
copyright work may happen across borders, with protagonists located in
different countries and jurisdictions, and therefore the technical
harmonization and interoperability of various systems is essential.

7) Introduce and develop online procedures for the filing and
administration of international applications for the Patent Cooperation
Treaty (PCT), the Madrid System, and the Hague Agreement at the earliest
possible date.

This will simplify and speed up the processing of applications and the
administration of intellectual property worldwide. This will also
facilitate cooperation between national intellectual property offices
through WIPO, via the provision of electronic services to member States and
eventually to users.

8) Study and, where appropriate, respond in a timely and effective manner
to the need for practical measures designed to improve the management of
cultural and other digital assets at the international level by, for
example, investigating the desirability and efficacy of:

- model procedures and forms for global licensing of digital assets;

- the notarization of electronic documents;

- the introduction of a procedure for the certification of websites for
compliance with appropriate intellectual property standards and procedures.

WIPO will explore the possibility of using a neutral third party, such as
WIPO itself, in certain cases, for notarization and certification services.
This is where a neutral third party such as WIPO could provide consumer
confidence in electronic intellectual property commerce, given that in a
virtual environment where consumers may not meet the vendor nor inspect the
goods, security concerns are natural.

9) Coordinate with other international organizations in the formulation of
appropriateinternational positions on horizontal issues affecting
intellectual property, in particular:

- the validity of electronic contracts;

- jurisdiction.

WIPO will commit itself to collaborating and cooperating with other
international organizations, such as the International Telecommunications
Union (ITU) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), in the area of
electronic commerce in order to avoid wasteful duplication in work
programs. Since electronic commerce crosses over many fields such as
intellectual property, trade, privacy, jurisdiction and telecommunications,
organizations need to cooperate and share their expertise in order to
address these issues. In this way they can respond effectively to the speed
of developments in the field and the need for a harmonized approach among
the community of States.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations & Public
Affairs Section at WIPO:

Tel: (+41 22) 338 8161 or 338 95 47
Fax: (+41 22) 338 88 10;
E-mail: publicinf@wipo.int

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