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<nettime> WIPO sneak trashes NGO dox
t byfield on Fri, 19 Nov 2004 15:19:12 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> WIPO sneak trashes NGO dox

< http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/002117.php >

Letter to WIPO on stolen EFF documents

November 18, 2004

Let me try to convey to you the depth of the weirdness that arose when all the
public-interest groups' papers were stolen and trashed at WIPO. No one gets
into the WIPO building without being accredited and checked over, so this was
almost certainly someone who was working on the treaty -- in other words, a
political opponent (none of the documents promoting the Broadcast Treaty were

As the Indian delegation put it, WIPO is an organization based on information.
For someone who believes in an information-protection instrument like the
Broadcast Treaty to sabotage the negotiation by hiding information from the
delegates is bizarre. The people who run the table were shocked silly -- this
has apparently never happened before at WIPO.

We ended up posting a guard over the table -- thanks to Rufus Pollock from the
Campaign for Digital Rights for yeoman duty! -- and rescuing our papers from
the trash and from reserve stashes. Unfortuately, we couldn't make any more
copies because the UN Secretariat -- who administers logistics -- has announced
that as of this meeting, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can no longer
have their materials photocopied by WIPO. Getting copies made means going all
the way back into town. This new rule, combined wiht a new procedure that
radically cut down on the floor time afforded to NGOs meant that we were
largely silenced by the saboteurs. Lucky for us, the delegates from Brazil and
India demanded that the Secretariat and Chair take pains to protect our
documents and yeild the floor to us.

Times like this, I remember a Ghandi quote that I heard from EFF-founder John
Gilmore: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,
then you win."

18 November 2004

Mrs. Rita Hayes, WIPO Deputy-Director General

Dear Mrs. Hayes:

We welcome WIPO's recent efforts at greater transparency and support for civil
society participation at these important meetings. It is therefore with regret
that we have to inform you of difficulties we have experienced during this 12th
Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. We write to
you to request your assistance to avoid a repetition of these unfortunate

Both yesterday and again today, written statements provided by IP Justice and
the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which were placed on the table designated
for floor papers, were stolen within minutes of being deposited on the table.
Additionally yesterday documents provided by the Union for the Public Domain
were also missing shortly after being placed on the table.

This morning, many of these documents were recovered from the trash can in the
first floor men's restroom. Another set of IP Justice statements as well as
copies of the alternative NGO Proposal for a Broadcasting Treaty were recovered
from behind a desk on the ground floor. These documents provided by IP Justice,
EFF, and the Union for the Public Domain were critical of the Broadcasting
Treaty. The papers drafted by the broadcasting industry, urging the treaty's
adoption, however, remain undisturbed on the table for floor papers.

Delegates' receipt of written statements provided by civil society are doubly
crucial because of the limited time that has been allocated for interventions
for civil society during this meeting. The briefing papers' disappearance
causes us particular difficulty given WIPO's new procedure to no longer
photo-copy NGO floor papers for the delegates. In order for us to get
replacements, we would have to get on a bus and travel back into town to make
more copies for the delegates, who have invited us to submit advice on these

Currently, we have placed a representative from civil society near the table
for floor papers to "guard" these written statements. But clearly this in not
an acceptable situation for NGOs or WIPO. We request that you take adequate and
effective measures to protect the materials placed on the floor paper table,
regardless of the views expressed in those statements. Thank you for your
attention to these matters.

Very truly,

Robin Gross
IP Justice
robin {AT} ipjustice.org

Cory Doctorow
Electronic Frontier Foundation
cory {AT} eff.org

David Tannenbaum
Shyamkrishna Balganesh
Union for the Public Domain
davidt {AT} public-domain.org

cc: US Delegation, SCCR Chair 

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