Submissions/Fighting The Intellectual Property Regime

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission
Fighting The Intellectual Property Regime
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University of Potsdam
The idea of intellectual property is not natural. It was constructed in the 14th Century and has developed since then into a worldwide accepted idea. Because of economic reasons over the time intellectual property law found its way into the international politic sphere and the international law.

After establishing the world trade organisation (WTO) in 1994 the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) was adopted and has turned out as an powerful instrument of enforcing the idea of intellectual property.

The driving forces behind this efforts to internationalize the intellectual property rights can be found in the Western industrialized countries and their economies. In contrast, developing countries were sceptical or hostile about the developments.

However, it came to the conclusion of the TRIPS Agreement. But---and this is remarkable---in later negotiations, developing countries could prevent further enhance the protection and could even get some bargaining success.

How could they have done this? And what can we learn from it?

In my presentation I will try to answer these questions. Therefore I am planning to give a very short introduction of constructivism and explain why I see intellectual property as a construction. Afterwards I want to show how a small group of western companies managed to spread this construction over the whole world and build the regime of intellectual property. Finally we come to the most interesting part: How could countries of the global south resist the much more powerful western countries and make changes to the TRIPS agreement during the Uruguay Round from 1986 to 1994?

Note: With "Regime" I mean "institutions with explicit rules, agreed upon by governments, that pertain to particular sets of issues in international relations" (Keohane 1989a, 4) (wikipedia:Regime theory). Even if I use this term of political science, my talk is explicit not only for scientists and experts. It should be understandable for everyone. :)

Wikis, free knowledge and copyright law
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