G8 declaration: Internet and IP critical to innovation

May 30th, 2011 by Barry Sookman Leave a reply »

The leaders of the G8 concluded their meetings last week with a renewed commitment to freedom and democracy. They released a declaration dealing with a variety of topics including the importance of the Internet and intellectual property as catalysts to innovation. The declaration also highlights the challenges of maintaining the privacy and security of networks and network communications.

The declaration on the Internet made the link between the Internet and innovation as follows:

For business, the Internet has become an essential and irreplaceable tool for the conduct of commerce and development of relations with consumers. The Internet is a driver of innovation, improves efficiency, and thus contributes to growth and employment…

The Internet has become a major driver for the global economy, its growth and innovation…

Their implementation must be included in a broader framework: that of respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, the protection of intellectual property rights, which inspire life in every democratic society for the benefit of all citizens. We strongly believe that freedom and security, transparency and respect for confidentiality, as well as the exercise of individual rights and responsibility have to be achieved simultaneously. Both the framework and principles must receive the same protection, with the same guarantees, on the Internet as everywhere else…

The Internet and its future development, fostered by private sector initiatives and investments, require a favourable, transparent, stable and predictable environment, based on the framework and principles referred to above. In this respect, action from all governments is needed through national policies, but also through the promotion of international cooperation…

The leaders recognized the importance of framework laws and means for enforcing intellectual property laws on the Internet.

With regard to the protection of intellectual property, in particular copyright, trademarks, trade secrets and patents, we recognize the need to have national laws and frameworks for improved enforcement. We are thus renewing our commitment to ensuring effective action against violations of intellectual property rights in the digital arena, including action that addresses present and future infringements. We recognize that the effective implementation of intellectual property rules requires suitable international cooperation of relevant stakeholders, including with the private sector. We are committed to identifying ways of facilitating greater access and openness to knowledge, education and culture, including by encouraging continued innovation in legal on line trade in goods and content, that are respectful of intellectual property rights.

The leaders also gave special recognition of the need for protecting privacy in the Internet context using common approaches.

The effective protection of personal data and individual privacy on the Internet is essential to earn users’ trust. It is a matter for all stakeholders: the users who need to be better aware of their responsibility when placing personal data on the Internet, the service providers who store and process this data, and governments and regulators who must ensure the effectiveness of this protection. We encourage the development of common approaches taking into account national legal frameworks, based on fundamental rights and that protect personal data, whilst allowing the legal transfer of data.

The leaders acknowledged the importance of addressing key concerns of all G8 nations for protecting the security of networks against the ever growing criminal and terrorist threats.

The security of networks and services on the Internet is a multi-stakeholder issue. It requires coordination between governments, regional and international organizations, the private sector, civil society and the G8’s own work in the Roma-Lyon group, to prevent, deter and punish the use of ICTs for terrorist and criminal purposes. Special attention must be paid to all forms of attacks against the integrity of infrastructure, networks and services, including attacks caused by the proliferation of malware and the activities of botnets through the Internet. In this regard, we recognize that promoting users’ awareness is of crucial importance and that enhanced international cooperation is needed in order to protect critical resources, ICTs and other related infrastructure. The fact that the Internet can potentially be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of peace and security, and may adversely affect the integrity of critical systems, remains a matter of concern. Governments have a role to play, informed by a full range of stakeholders, in helping to develop norms of behaviour and common approaches in the use of cyberspace. On all these issues, we are determined to provide the appropriate follow-up in all relevant fora.

The leaders also focused on the importance of innovation in the knowledge economy. The declaration highlighted the importance of having strong and robust intellectual property systems as a catalyst to innovation.

We agree on the necessity of a level playing field in the innovation area, including a strong and robust intellectual property system as an incentive to innovation and a catalyst for growth. We acknowledge the important role of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in developing a broad approach to intellectual property in support of business friendly, robust and efficient national intellectual property systems. Renewing our support to the principles of the patent system, we attach great importance to its promotion and development. We encourage increased international action to strengthen patent quality, and call for improved diffusion of patent information, particularly critical for SMEs and research centres. We support transparency in technology markets and call for the improvement of market places for trading rights. We invite WIPO, in close cooperation with Member States and other relevant entities, to intensify its work in these three areas. In addition we note the importance of enforcement in order to incentivise innovation and protect innovation once developed.

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