Speech by Pedro de Paranaguá Moniz, on behalf of Centre for Technology and Society – CTS, of Getulio Vargas Foundation School of Law, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

13 April 2005

Dear Mr. Chairman,

I congratulate you and the vice chairman on your election.

I speak on behalf of Centre for Technology and Society (CTS), of Getulio Vargas Foundation School of Law, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

First of all, we would like to thank the Member States and WIPO Secretariat for authorising our /ad hoc/ accreditation as an NGO to this important meeting.

We shall stress, from the beginning, that we are NOT against the so called intellectual property system.

We are just against the ABUSE of the IP system.

Some intellectual property rights, if correctly used, depending on the level of development of each country, and on the area to which it is applied, may foster innovation, creativity, and technology transfer. However, as several economic, government, and academic studies continue to show over the years, not much attention has been given to the costs of the IP system.

For instance, at the Second Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, in 1961, Brazil and Bolivia presented a draft Resolution in which it was stated that: “/access to /(...)/ knowledge /(...)/ is often limited by patents and similar arrangements designed to protect the right of ownership and exploitation of investors of new processes, techniques and products”./

The present discussion, Mr. Chairman, does NOT involve only developing and least developed countries. It is about ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE for all, including persons from the North.

Brazil, for instance, is an example on the successful use of free software, and of Creative Commons licences. While respecting the author's copyrights, these models give some freedom in order to reach further development. While both Brazilian Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education support the Creative Commons programme; several Ministries and Municipalities support and have adopted free software.

In the past 12 months, the Brazilian Government has saved more than US$ 10 million by using free software.

Furthermore, besides the success of free software on the public sector, the private sector is also considerably benefiting from it. IBM, for instance, announced profits of more than US$ 1 billion in 2002 with the selling of software, hardware and services based on the GNU/Linux free software platform. In Brazil, companies such as the supermarket chain Carrefour, and banks such as HSBC and ABN/Amro are successfully using free software.

Thus, it shall be noted that free software:

  1. promotes economic efficiency once, among other reasons, reduces the forwarding of royalties to foreign countries for the payment of licences, which helps balancing the trade balance;
  2. promotes a greater technological security and stability;
  3. increases the autonomy and the technological capacity of the adopting country;
  4. creates independence regarding a specific supplier, and
  5. helps to promote democratic access to knowledge.

Last, but not least, we would like to call the attention to the fact that the intellectual property system shall NOT be seen as the rule, but rather, as an EXCEPTION to the free flow of knowledge.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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