Creative Commons’ Response to Wikimedia Foundation’s WIPO Observer Application Being Blocked

Creative Commons

“World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)” by US Mission Geneva is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Yesterday, we were disappointed to learn that the Wikimedia Foundation’s application for observer status at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was blocked due to opposition by China for the second time after its initial application in 2020.

Creative Commons has been an accredited observer at WIPO since 2005. WIPO is the UN agency that develops international treaties on copyright, patents, trademarks and related intellectual property issues. Last year, we supported the Wikimedia Foundation’s WIPO observer application, and welcomed the prospect of it joining us as a WIPO observer. 

The Wikimedia Foundation is one of the world’s largest stakeholders and contributors in the sphere of access to knowledge and information, with its projects and community reaching a global audience. The Foundation operates Wikipedia, one of the most popular sources of information for people around the world. 

It’s deeply frustrating to see the Wikimedia Foundation’s application for WIPO observer status blocked. WIPO plays a pivotal role in shaping international rules that influence the sharing of free knowledge. This decision deprives the Wikimedia Foundation’s vast global communities of the opportunity to participate in this process.”

“Creative Commons and the Wikimedia Foundation are close affiliates, and over the last two decades we have worked as partners committed to free and open knowledge and developing a thriving global commons,” said Creative Commons CEO Catherine Stihler. 

“It’s deeply frustrating to see the Wikimedia Foundation’s application for WIPO observer status blocked. WIPO plays a pivotal role in shaping international rules that influence the sharing of free knowledge. This decision deprives the Wikimedia Foundation’s vast global communities of the opportunity to participate in this process. Creative Commons reaffirms its support for Wikimedia Foundation’s application and calls on WIPO members, including the People’s Republic of China, to reconsider this decision.”

Restrictive copyright systems and other barriers to access and sharing of knowledge and information continue to threaten the foundations of our free and democratic societies. We must welcome a diversity of voices and foster global cooperation to meet the IP challenges the world faces, and achieve better sharing that serves the public interest and creates a world where everyone has access to culture, science, and knowledge.