WIPO Boss: “The Web Would Have Been Better Off If It Was Patented & Every User Had To Pay A License Fee To Use It”

According to a story in The Blog,  boingboing, Francis Gurry, the Director General of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) chatted last week about who much better off the Internet would have been “if it had been locked away in patents, and if every user of the Web had needed to pay a license fee to use it ”

Of course WIPO is one of the groups which administer domain name disputes and to see the head of it take such a pro-IP stance as to wish the entire Internet was protected by IP interests and that every user would be force to pay IP interests fees to use the net, it certainly gives you an indication of what domain holders are up against in a WIPO action

You can watch the video for yourself, with Gurry’s talk starts at 0:49:50.

So if you think that IP interests don’t try to overreach with an every expanding wish list of rights, its a video you should check out.


  1. says

    “the Director General of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)”

    .UN – New York
    .WIPO – Switzerland

    World as in World.Series

    Intellectual.Property – Most humans can not even explain what that is… ask them

    ICANN loves WIPO – Step up and pay your $185,000 to them – Thanks for playing

  2. Steve M says

    Au contraire, Mr. Gurry.

    With such licenses, the Internet would not be anywhere near where it is today.

    For many reasons, that would be bad.

    Very. Very. Bad.

  3. LindaM says

    This has to rank as one of the more ‘out there’ utterings from these bigshots. Some of the internet was in effect ‘patented’ and walled off, early AOL or some college, corporate campuses, for example. These users probably quickly realised that their walled gardens were a bit boring always seeing the same people, brands or whatever and started connecting up in other ways, or jumping ship to less dumb providers. I made 2 computers talk to each other before I had heard of the internet and 10 years before the web hit, it wasnt hard and Im kinda slow so I doubt its patentable anyway :)

  4. says

    More research on the article and the meetings reveal the ISOC involvement.

    The Headline may not accurately capture what was intended.

    The World has paid a huge price catering to the Multi-StakeHolder (MLM) PRIVATE parties who continue to dominate so-called Internet Governance.

    People will never know the full magnitude of that price or any alternatives.
    YOU get to only see what THE.Big.Lie.Society serves you.

  5. says

    I just had this thought. People who buy domains in a way support the internet, perhaps they should be entitled to some sort of perk like double band width or express lanes when they domain owners face heavy website traffic.

  6. says

    “People who buy domains in a way support the internet, perhaps they should be entitled to some sort of perk”

    One would think that those who pay for the net and the infrastructure, etc. would be entitled to something. That is not the way The.Big.Lie.Society wants it.

    YOU are here to serve them. YOU pay for their fun and games.

    THEY really are a unique breed.

  7. Muscle Sprouts says

    Just another techie nut job that has some preconceived Utopian fantasies of how he sees the Net “should be”.

    These guys that say and think these things are not that much different than the way dictators think.

  8. oblivious says

    well, i’m sure folks at wipo really strongly believe ip is what drives innovation. and if they believe that strongly enough, then it’s true for them. not sure if this quote from gurry is being taken out of context. but if it really does summarise what he was saying, then this deserves a good rant.

    ip rights trigger investment. it’s true.

    but they do NOT trigger investment in basic research.

    almost all research by companies that invest in patents is directed at producing something that can be licensed or sold. note i said companies. many of the patents filed are not directed similarly but they can be useful for other purposes: eg, blocking competition.

    the interesting thing that history shows us is that many times (most times?) what they were directing their research toward is not the “something” that ends up being what is licensed or sold. such things are discovered by accident. ie, the company directs its effort at producing one thing and _by accident_ discovers their efforts could be redirected at something else, whose potential looks much more promising.

    there are just so many examples of this it can make your head spin. if you research products protected by patents thoroughly to find their origins you will often (almost always?) find that the route to that product involved an unexpected discovery, something that was unplanned. ie, it was not part of the “directed” research plan. it just happened.
    if you need a concrete example, since we’re talking about the web, how about an aptly famous one: viagra.

    do you think the drug comany, the innovator, was executing a plan directed at producing a product for erectile dysfunction? no! they were focused on a different organ, whose malfunction and treatment has a proven track record of profits: the heart.

    in the course of their research to yield a product candidate to treat problems with that organ, they noticed an _unexpected result_, an effect on another organ. and the rest is history. the patent factories went into high gear for that enzyme inhibitor and anything remotely associated with it.

    now, here’s the kicker: guess what is probably the most prolific route to such unexpected but fortuitous discoveries? do you think it is _directed research_ like the companies that spend the most on patents do? no!

    it’s _basic research_, like universities are permitted to do. like hackers are permitted to do. the kind of people who work for fun, not money. the kind of people who, as long as their basic needs are met, work for free.

    the kind of people who worked at xerox, bell labs and in the berkeley group.

    the kind of people who hacked together what is “the internet”. the ones who ibm, microsoft, google and apple borrow their code from.

    patents are not what motivates these people to work and to create something like the internet.

    but good luck getting at anyone at wipo to see that.

    maybe this gentleman is smart enough to know that basic research is the key to much (most?) innovation, such as the internet.

    but is he pretending that companies who invest in patents and make wipo relevant are seriously investing in _basic research_? does he honestly believe this? is he really that oblivious?

    by and large, with very, very few exceptions, these companies are not. and it’s unlikely they ever will. because shareholders are not interested in basic research. they are interested in results. results that translate to profits.

    one of the foremost problems of science is what to do with unexpected results. in the case of something like viagra, it was a no-brainer what to do. but in the vast majority of epxeriments, it is not clear what the value is of these data. and until we find a way to show what that value is, no public patent filing company is going to spend it’s budget chasing after unexpected results.

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