A Letter in Support of the Admission of the Wikimedia Foundation and its Affiliates as Observers to the World Intellectual Property Organization

On July 13th, 2022, a coalition of over fifty civil society organizations representing educators, researchers, libraries, archives and digital rights advocates sent a letter to the delegates representing the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) at its 2022 General Assembly to support the application of seven Wikimedia chapters as observers. On July 15th, Wikimedia chapters were blocked over concerns by one member state as was the case earlier this year at the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights and in 2020 and 2021 when the Wikimedia Foundation had applied for accreditation. The support letter is published here as a sign of solidarity for the Wikimedia movement that deserves a seat at the table in this important forum.

Esteemed delegates,

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, are deeply concerned with the exclusion of the Wikimedia Foundation, the global nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia, and seven independent Wikimedia chapters from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

WIPO is an important United Nations specialized agency where key rules for access to knowledge are made. WIPO’s work has an immediate impact on the ability of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia chapters, and countless Wikimedia volunteers around the globe to maintain Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects.

Many signatories of this letter have enriched discussions and contributed to the debates at WIPO over many years. The Wikimedia Foundation and its independent affiliates are active and respected stakeholders around the world, specifically on copyright policy. Their participation would bring a unique and underrepresented angle to WIPO debates. Not admitting the Foundation and its independent affiliates as observers is unacceptable.

Yet the Wikimedia Foundation’s applications for permanent observer status at WIPO have been rejected twice at the 2020 and 2021 General Assemblies. In addition, this year, six independent Wikimedia chapters were rejected as ad hoc observers to WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights at its 42nd session.

We call on Delegations to do everything in their power to facilitate admission of the Wikimedia Chapters of Argentina, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Sweden, and Switzerland at the 2022 WIPO General Assembly. We also ask you to admit the Wikimedia Foundation once it reapplies for admission as an observer organization to WIPO.

Yours faithfully,

Access Now
Alternatif Bilisim (Alternative Informatics Association, Turkey)
American Library Association
Association of College and Research Libraries
Association of Research Libraries
Australian Libraries & Archives Copyright Coalition
Australian Digital Alliance
Biblioteca y Ruralidad (Colombia)
Centro de Estudios en Tecnología y Sociedad (CETyS), Universidad de San Andrés (Argentina)
comun.al, Digital Resilience Lab (Mexico)
Creative Commons
Creative Commons Italy
Creative Commons Kenya
Creative Commons México
Creative Commons Slovenia
Creative Commons Uruguay
D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (Portugal)
Datysoc (Uruguay)
Derechos Digitales (Latin America)
Digitalcourage (Germany)
Education International
EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries)
Elektronisk Forpost Norge (Norway)
Fight for the Future
Fundación Conector (Colombia)
Fundación Karisma (Colombia)
Fundación Vía Libre (Argentina)
Fundacja Centrum Cyfrowe (Poland)
Grupo Bibliotecario sobre Acceso a la Información y Propiedad Intelectual – G-BAIPI (Argentina)
Homo Digitalis (Greece)
Intellectual Property Institute (Slovenia)
International Council on Archives
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
Internet Archive
IP Justice (USA)
IPQuail (Kenya)
ISUR (Colombia)
IT-Pol Denmark
Knowledge Ecology International
Knowledge Rights 21
Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (UK)
Library Copyright Alliance
Library Futures Institute
Open Access India
Open Future Foundation
TEDIC (Paraguay)
R3D: Red en defensa de los derechos digitales (México)
Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Derechos de Autor y Acceso a la Información – REDLACDA
Vereniging Open Nederland (Netherlands)

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