Feeds

The world needs YOU! Stand up and be counted

Net essay competition marks the little man's fight back

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Here is a great opportunity for you, as citizens of the world, to make a difference by putting your brains to good use and making a stand for the kind of world you'd like to see your kids raised up in.

And what is this? The WIPOUT essay competition. Tired of multi-national corporations' increasing control over our lives, a group of individuals got together to see what they could do. The final straw was an essay competition started by WIPO - the World Intellectual Property Organisation - in March this year.

The competition asked for people to submit entries with the title "What does intellectual property mean to you in your daily life?" As WIPOUT points out: "It is obvious that WIPO is expecting a number of self-congratulatory essays detailing the plentiful benefits of intellectual property (IP)."

It goes on to suggest that essays entitled "I can't purchase anti-HIV drugs because of patent law" or "As a farmer, I can't get access to patent-protected seeds for planting" or "As a teacher, I can't distribute materials to my students due to copyright restrictions", may not make the shortlist, so it has decided to create an opportunity for essays with exactly the same title but a slightly more critical approach.

It is even offering prize money that currently stands at £1,500. Not only that but some big names have given the competition their endorsement including Noam Chomsky, The Treatment Action Campaign of South Africa, the Gene Campaign of India, barrister Michael Mansfield, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for the Public Domain. We're so taken with it that we've pitched in as well.

As opposed to the vast majority of such competitions, entries will be made available on WIPOUT's Web site and can be submitted in English, French, Spanish or German with a maximum length of 2,000 words. It started yesterday and four essays are already up, including one of how one woman and her boyfriend found themselves on the wrong end of Time Warner's ire and entered a Kafkaesque world despite having done nothing wrong.

The organisers also make it clear that they are not after the abolition of intellectual property, or are even against IP in itself, simply "the excessive protection of IP and how it is accorded trumping power over other values and social priorities such as access to medicines, to education, and to the sharing of ideas and information."

The competition will run until 15 March 2002 and the winning essays will be announced on the same day as WIPO's winners - 26 April 2002.

One endorser pointed out that the US Patent Office has just granted a patent for "both hand hair cutting method". We reported just this week that Network Associates had been granted a patent for "Method and System for Providing Automated Updating and Upgrading of Antivirus Applications Using a Computer Network" - something that companies have been doing for years. And let's not forget the recent Dmitry Skylarov debacle.

Noam Chomsky said the contest is necessary to remind people that "this harsh regime [of Intellectual Property Rights] is designed to grant multinational corporations control over the technology of the future. It really is a scandal."

So if you really want to do something, make people sit up and listen rather than be overrun with company hype, propaganda and freedom-stifling lawsuits, write an essay. Write it intelligently or wittily or in your own unique style and enter it.

Go to the WIPOUT site if you want to know more. ®

Related Links

WIPOUT's site
WIPO's competition

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
Class war! Wikipedia's workers revolt again
Bourgeois paper-shufflers have 'suspended democracy', sniff unpaid proles
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.