Earlier this week the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) rejected the Wikimedia Foundation’s bid to become a WIPO observer. This is the second time Wikimedia’s application has been blocked by the People’s Republic of China over concerns that Wikimedia has a chapter in Taiwan.
Today more than 50 civil society organizations sent a letter to WIPO delegates urging them to do everything in their power to facilitate the admission of the Wikimedia Foundation as a WIPO observer. Open Future is among the signatories of this letter.
There can be no doubt that Wikimedia Foundation, which is the world’s most important operator of free knowledge projects, is a legitimate stakeholder to the discussions taking place at WIPO. The Wikimedia Foundation provides these repositories in full respect of copyright and other intellectual property rights. It is unacceptable that this eminent stakeholder, which exemplifies the human ideal of access to knowledge and culture, is denied access to the primary venue for global discussions on policies related to intellectual property rights over unrelated concerns by a single WIPO Member State.
Together with all the signatories of the letter, we therefore urge all WIPO Member States to follow the established criteria for admissions of observers and facilitate admission of the Wikimedia Foundation at the next series of meetings of the WIPO Assemblies, without any further delays.