WIPO and It’s Corruption

Intellectual property (or IP) is property that a person or organization “owns” intangibly. You have the patent or trademark rights to a work of art you made. A book, computer program, or TV show all constitute potential IP. The World Intellectual Property Organization (or WIPO) exists to protect a person or organization’s IP. Part of WIPO’s mission statement includes promoting the creation of intellectual properties all over the world.

But it could be argued that WIPO is corrupt — and has been for a long time.

Francis Gurry currently serves as Director-General of WIPO, having taken the office in 2008. Shockingly, Gurry has been implicated in a number of scandals but has somehow managed to consolidate and keep his power in that office for 12 years. 

When a whistleblower blew the lid on his activities wide open, Gurry stole DNA to catch the employee. Gurry has been accused of providing money to North Korea and Iran, and threatening those who would dare publish WIPO documents that provide insight into the wide array of WIPO’s corrupt activities.

That’s what happened when blogger Gene Quinn chose to post one WIPO employee’s “Report of Misconduct.” Edward Kwakwa, a lawyer working for WIPO, threatened to press criminal charges after Quinn published. 

Quinn deleted the post. 

Perhaps he should be more embarrassed than the corrupt figures who work at and on behalf of WIPO: Quinn also works as a patent lawyer, and should be extremely cognizant of the many protections afforded to whistleblowers.

A press release stated: “Quinn has chosen not to fight this, taking down his post and the associated documents, noting that while he believes in the First Amendment, he’s currently recovering from hip replacement surgery and is in no condition to take on this sort of fight at the moment. …At least two other reporters and bloggers who claim to have a copy of the report similarly refuse to post it, noting it’s not worth the legal fight.”

Gurry is known for his extreme opinions on copyright, perhaps making him a bad man for the job in the first place. He believes the Internet in general should be patented; in other words, those who wish to surf the web should have to pay for the pleasure. Reports also allege that he would prefer to end fair use regulations.

The platforms put into place by WIPO are just as bad as its leader. The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Procedure provides legal owners of an IP with the right to absorb web domains that allegedly infringe on that IP. If someone doesn’t have the financial resources to fight back, that basically means a big company could steal the competition’s domain without so much as a fight.

Maybe we should have known better than to install someone like Gurry into the position of Director-General for an organization built to protect IP?

 

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