Erin Flood on Fri, 29 Jun 2001 19:49:13 +0200 (CEST)

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richard barbrook wrote:
>Announcing the
>Counter Essay Contest
>May 2001
>In March, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) announced
>that it was establishing an international student essay contest asking the
>LIFE?" (see excerpts of release below.) It quickly became obvious to us
>what type of essays WIPO wanted. Anyone who answered that intellectual
>property (IP) means: " I can't purchase anti-HIVS drugs because of patent
>law" or, " as a farmer, I can't get access to patent-protected seeds for
>planting" or, " as a visually impaired person, I can't read books due to
>copyright restrictions" or, " as a teacher, I can't distribute materials
>to my students for the same reason" or, " I was fired from my job because
>I was a whistleblower" or, a thousand other similar responses would not be
>winning a prize from WIPO, no matter how articulate or well-argued such an
>essay was. And, once again, the negative consequences of IP would go
>unchallenged in a flood of congratulatory rhetoric.
>And so what is the solution? Set up a counter/alternative essay contest,
>ask exactly the same question as WIPO, encourage a range of rather more
>critical responses, create a website where the essays can be posted and
>viewed, then find some judges, and, at the end of the contest, award some
>(admittedly modest) prizes. And that is what a group of us who teach,
>study, produce, use, and research intellectual property are now in the
>process of doing. Currently composed of 20 people in five countries (UK,
>US, Canada, Australia, and The Netherlands), our group thinks such an
>essay contest, the public recording of personal testimonials, provides a
>good occasion to intervene in the international political, economic, and
>social debate about IP which has "moved to centre stage---and will stay
>there" as The Economist magazine recently commented.
> The essay contest and the web site will be launched simultaneously on 4
>Sept. 2001. The contest closes 15 March 2002 and the winner announced on
>26 April 2002, the same day that WIPO announces its winners.
> In addition to the counter essay contest, the web site will also feature
>a section of short news items and brief opinion pieces on harmful and
>negative developments across the entire IP spectrum: trade marks and
>freedom of speech, copyright in music, proprietary computer software,
>parodies of works, patents in plants, genes, and pharmaceuticals, the
>effects of IP on economic/cultural development, users' rights and fair
>dealing/fair use, "whistle blowing" and trade secrets, designs, right of
>publicity, etc. We extend a special invitation to contestants and those
>interested in IP from countries of the South to join in and to highlight
>the effects of the over- protection of intellectual property on peoples
>and countries which are outside of the European and North American
>domination of intellectual property dialogue. And, by the way, we also
>want to have some fun!
>As part of this year long project, we are also approaching several
>publishers and expect to publish a book containing the winning entries,
>plus a selection of other essays.
>To be clear on the purpose of this contest and this committee: we are not
>saying that individuals and corporations that produce intellectual
>property do not deserve some reward for their efforts. We are strongly
>opposed, however, to the over-protection of IP and according it trumping
>power over other values and social priorities such as access to medicines,
>to education, and to the sharing of ideas and information.
>Some further details :
>1) The question: "What does intellectual property mean to you in your daily
>2) Essays can be submitted by anyone; that is, you do NOT have to be a
>student, though, of course, entries from student of all ages are encouraged.
>And contestants retain rights in their own submissions.
>3) The maximum word length is 2,000 words; shorter submissions will not be
>4) Initially (and purely because of limited resources), we will be accepting
>essays in English, French, Spanish and German ; those speaking other
>languages and those willing to judge in other languages are encouraged to
>contact us and we will work together to get more languages into the contest.
>5) Our contest website will also have links to other IP-related sites and
>6) We are in the process establishing an international panels of judges and
>would invite further nominations.
> Between now and Sept 1, there is a lot of work to be done and we are only a
>small committee of volunteers with limited money and contacts. Perhaps you
>might like to
>* join our committee and help in the organisation (publicity, sponsors,
>* receive more information
>* endorse this contest and campaign and/or sponsor this contest and provide
>some financial support for prize money
>* offer your website as a mirror to the main contest website or set up
>reciprocal links between your site and ours.
>Please contact:
>Alan Story, Kent Law School, University of Kent , Canterbury UK , CT2 NS
>More details and contest particulars, including website address, will follow
>later in the summer.
>IP Counter Essay Contest Committee
>* Treatment Action Campaign (HIV/AIDS, health care -
> ) South
>*  EBLIDA (European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation
>Associations - ), The Hague, The Netherlands.
>*  GENE CAMPAIGN ( ), New Delhi, India.
>* RTMark (brokerage for anti-corporate activism - ) UK
>*  Negativland  (experimental-music, radio and video collective,
>anti-corporate/copyright artist  activists USA.
>*  The Third World Network (, Penang, Malaysia
>*  Critical Lawyers' Group, Kent Law School( ) Canterbury,UK.
>*  The Register ("Biting the hand that feeds IT" online magazine-
>, London, UK.
>*  Specialized Systems Consultants, Inc. (publishers of Linux Journal -
>, USA
>* Hypermedia Research Centre, University of Westminster (
>, London, England.
>*  Peter Drahos (IP Professor), Queen Mary and Westfield College, London,
>*  Noam Chomsky, Boston, Mass., U.S.A.
>*  Udo Schuklenk, (Head of Bioethics, Co-Editor BIOETHICS), University of the
>Witwatersrand , Johannesburg, South Africa.
>*  Paul van Buitenen, (auditor/whistleblower of European Commission fraud;
>Readers' Digest "European of the Year"), Luxembourg.
>*  Doug Henwood, (editor/ publisher, Left Business Observer)
> ) USA.
>*  Peter Lurie, Deputy Director, Public Citizen's Health Research Group,
>Washington, USA
>*  Michael H. Davis (IP Professor), Cleveland State University,
>Cleveland-Marshall College of Law,  Cleveland, OH, USA.
>*  Ann Bartow ( IP Professor), Univ. of South Carolina School of Law ,
>Columbia, SC, USA
>*  Eben Moglen ( Professor of Law & Legal History) Columbia Law School,
>General Counsel, Free Software Foundation,  New York, New York, USA.
>* Michael Mansfield QC (barrister, honorary president, the Critical Lawyers'
>Group), London, UK.
>*  Ray Patterson ( IP Professor), University of Georgia Law School, Athens,
>Georgia, USA
>*  Peter Jaszi ( IP Professor) Washington College of Law, American
>University, Washington D.C., USA
>*  Rod Dixon (visiting Professor of Law), Rutgers University Law School,
>Camden, New Jersey, USA
>*  Miltos Manetas, visual artist, ,  USA
>*  Maryly Snow (visual artist & chair, Visual Resources Association
>Intellectual Property Rights Committee), Berkeley, Ca. USA.
>*  Ram Samudrala (Computational biology (genomics and proteomics) professor),
>University of Washington, Seattle, Washington , USA
>* David Sorkin (Center for Information Technology and Privacy Law, The John
>Marshall Law School) Chicago, Illinois, USA
>*  Michael Ashburner ( Biology Professor), Dept. of Genetics, Cambridge
>University, Cambridge, UK.
>*  Brian Martin (Science, Technology & Society) University of Wollongong,
>*  Deborah Halbert ( Political Science Professor), Otterbein College,
>Westerville, OH, USA
>WIPO PRESS RELEASE  (March 200l) -  The first ever World Intellectual
>Property Day takes place on 26 April 2001, the date in which the Convention
>establishing WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Organisation) entered
>into force in 1970. WIPO member states decided at their last annual meeting
>to designate this date for special activities to highlight the importance
>and practical use of intellectual property in people's lives. As part of a
>series of events, WIPO has launched an international essay competition open
>to university students. The 2000 word essay must address the question "What
>does intellectual property mean to you in your daily life". It can be
>submitted in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish. A prize
>of 1000 Swiss francs will be awarded for the best essay in each language.
>Entries must be sent to the WWA by December 1, 2001. The winners will be
>announced on World Intellectual Property Day next year, that is, on April
>26, 2002. For further information, please consult  .
>Alan Story
>Kent Law School
>University of Kent
>Canterbury Kent U.K
>CT2 7NS.
>44 (0)1227 823316
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