Today is World Intellectual Property day; so how appropriate for WIPOUT to announce the 11 winners of its international intellectual property counter-essay contest. The Register is, we seem to recall, a sponsor in a very small way, of this contest, so clearly we think it's worth a story. And considering the provenance of WIPOUT, we are sure that it won't mind that we are stealing its press release and reprinting it in full. ®
WIPOUT ANNOUNCES ITS CONTEST WINNERS
WIPOUT, the international intellectual property counter-essay contest, today announces its eleven winners on the day that has been tagged "World Intellectual Property Day" by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
The winners, selected by an international panel of judges, live in six countries across the globe and submitted essays in four different languages:
English, French, German, and Spanish. They are named below and are also available on the WIPOUT web site at: www.wipout.net
"The obvious interest in the counter-essay contest and the high quality of the entries show that a growing number of people are dissenting from WIPO's
dangerous stance that more and more extensive protection of more and more forms of intellectual property is a good thing," the WIPOUT co-chairs stated
A total of 77 essays were submitted from 18 countries in response to the question: WHAT DOES INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MEAN TO YOU IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?
Earlier in 2001, WIPO, a United Nations organisation, had set up an essay contest that asked the same question. But WIPOUT organisers decided that a
WIPO-sponsored contest would fail to appreciate the damage that the over-protection of intellectual property is doing to education, health care,
the environment, and economic security for millions around the globe.
As Noam Chomsky, one of the more than 50 individuals and groups who endorsed WIPOUT said, this counter contest reminds people that "this harsh regime [of
intellectual property rights] is designed to grant multinational corporations control over the technology of the future...it really is a scandal." (The complete list of contest endorsers can be found at:
All of the 77 essays submitted, including the winning essays, are available on the WIPOUT site, www.wipout.net. The essays to WIPOUT came from the USA,
UK, Republic of South Africa, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Japan, Australia, Greece, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Netherlands, New Zealand, France, People's Republic of China and Bulgaria.
Among other issues, the 77 essays reveal:
- how illiterate persons in South Africa are required to pay copyright royalty fees if they wish to learn to read - and hence don't get the opportunity.
- how the conductor of a volunteer church choir in the United States could not lead his choir in a proper public performance, again because of copyright restrictions;
- how drug patents are blocking access to desperately needed anti HIV/AIDS drugs...and again, how copyright royalties are charged for anti-HIV health materials;
- how the TRIPS agreement is turning into a cruel hoax for countries of the South;
- how IP laws are transforming the Internet into a restrictive, user-pay experience;
- how the patenting of plants and genes is doing great damages to the interests of farmers and consumers;
Among the contributions are poems, drawings, short stories, fictional IP "nightmare scenarios" of coming years, calls to action, parodies, historical explorations, and theoretical critiques of intellectual property.
Each of the winners will receive a small financial prize from the WIPOUT prize fund that was created primarily through a generous donation from the
Center for the Public Domain in the United States.
"Our small group of volunteers hardly has the financial or publicity resources of WIPO, which is housed in palatial head offices beside Lake
Geneva in Switzerland, and so we think it was a good accomplishment to get 50% of number of essays that WIPO's contest received." WIPO is also announcing its essay contest winners today.
WIPOUT is an international organisation consisting of academics, artists,musicians and other activists. Future projects and programmes are now under
The WIPOUT contest started on 4 September 2001 and concluded on 15 March 2002.
Today WIPOUT celebrates the winners, but the competitive aspect of the contest was always secondary to the purpose of giving a platform to the
voices who disagree with the constant expansion of intellectual property
NAMES OF WIPOUT CONTEST WINNERS, TITLES OF THEIR ESSAYS, AND THEIR LOCATION (THE NAMES ARE LISTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER.)
John Cahir, ON CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AND POLITICAL ACTION, London, United Kingdom. http://www.wipout.net/essays/0113cahir.htm
Jason Holt, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AFFECTS MY LIFE, Provo, Utah, United States of America. http://www.wipout.net/essays/0216holt.htm
Eddan Elizafon Katz, MY FIRST SEVEN DAYS ON THE INTERNET, Oakland, California, United States of America.
Vijaya Kumar, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AN OBSTACLE TO DEVELOPMENT?, Dangolia, Kandy, Sri Lanka.
Denise Nicholson, DOES COPYRIGHT HAVE ANY SIGNIFANCE IN THE LIVES OF ILLITERATE OR VISUALLY-IMPAIRED PERSONS?, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Percy Schmeiser, GENETIC CONTAMINATION AND FARMERS's RIGHTS, Bruno, Saskatchewan, Canada. http://www.wipout.net/essays/0904schmeiser.htm
Louise Szente, THE CROW AND THE OWL, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Philip Tagg, COPYRIGHT VS. THE DEMOCRATIC RIGHT TO KNOW, Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Alexandre Pirsch, ANTHROPOLOGIE ET DROITS D'AUTEUR: (D)ÉCRIRE L'AUTRE ET LE (DÉ)POSSÉDER (ANTHROPOLOGY AND COPYRIGHT: HOW "WRITING" CAN DEPRIVE THE OTHER OF HIS/HER RIGHTS.) Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Alesch Staehelin, SUCHE NACH BILLIGEN AIDS-MEDIKAMENTEN (THE SEARCH FORCHEAP AIDS DRUGS ) Venice, California, United States.
Juan Mateos Garcia, DERECHOS DE PROPIEDAD INTELECTUAL Y ESPACIOS DE INFORMACIÓN PÚBLICA (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND THE INFORMATION COMMONS), Salamanca, Spain. http://www.wipout.net/essays/1012garcia.htm"