Intellectual Property Access for the World

On Tuesday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and four other members of Congress supported an extension to a waiver requiring least developed countries (LDCs) to comply with world trade agreements. The LDCs are seeking policy flexibility to develop domestic technological and creative capacity before having to adopt the highest standards of intellectual property protection and enforcement.

In summary, the World Trade Organization waiver would extend intellectual property rights under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement for LDCs until they individually graduated from LDC status. These waivers affect the price, availability and use of resources in libraries for education, research and personal development, as well as access to affordable medicines, agricultural goods and renewable technologies.

Carrie Russell is the Director of the Program on Public Access to Information in the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). Her portfolio includes copyright, international copyright, accessibility, e-books and other public policy issues. She has a MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a MA in media arts from the University of Arizona. She can be reached via e-mail at crussell@alawash.org.

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