The ever reliable, recondite, and renowned IPKat blog has important and timely news on two fronts that will affect not only IP bloggers but practitioners, jurists, academics, government officials, international agency officials and diplomats dealing with IP throughout the world.
The first announcement is nothing but good news. The IPKat has honoured Dr. Francis Gurry, the distinguished Director General of WIPO, with an appointment as the seventh IPKat, to be known as the Gurrykat. The requirements for appointment as an IPKat blogger are highly confidential. However, it is clearly the case that only seven persons have ever met these stringent qualifications. Dr. Gurry’s record, however, is clearly unique and beyond question. Although the IPKat has circumscribed his mandate rather precisely, presumably for at least as long as he will be on probation, we can only hope to eventually look forward to frequent tweets and detailed blogs, especially during and immediately following annual General Assembly Meetings and doubtlessly increasingly frequent Diplomatic Conferences.
Indeed, optimism about Dr. Gurry’s blogging and tweeting abilities is very high. As a relatively young man born in 1951, it is expected that he will quickly master the technology required for successful blogging and tweeting. According to several reliable sources, there is absolutely no truth to the rumours that he may have been born in 1915 rather than 1951. The source of any confusion on this point may be tracable to a typo arising from the clumsy use of an early version of a Blackberry by a former WIPO official.
All pundits are agreed that Dr. Gurry’s contribution as an IPKat blogger will be fully synergistic and complementary to the vision statement as described by the senior IPKat himself, Prof. Jeremy Phillips:
Prima facie it seems surprising that the Director General of a United Nations agency should be prepared to expose his thoughts to the robust forum of thought which is the intellectual property blogosphere. In retrospect, however, one can see why Dr Gurry would have agreed. While he is a career diplomat who respects the rules and conventions which that role demands, those close to his office say that he has in recent months been seen to have been showing signs of being a visionary in his field, a role that is difficult to fulfill within what the IPKat and Merpel would regard as the chafing confines and stifling etiquette of the diplomatic environment in which he discharges his official functions.Given Dr. Gurry’s many and magnificent achievements to date, there is every hope that he can rise to the standards expected of other illustrious members of the IPKat litter.
On a more sombre and apparently unrelated front, it seems the WIPO has finally begun the inevitable and essential task of oversight of blogs that may be having a negative impact of the world of IP. The IPKat is reporting, based in turn upon reports from the extremely reliable and esteemed William Mew, Editor of IP Watch, that:
...the WIPO Council has approved in outline the establishment of a two-tier “watch-list”: there would be an “A-List” of intellectual property weblogs which are considered to be potentially harmful to the intellectual property environment and a “B-List” of those which are seen as being positively detrimental to the aims and objectives of rights protection.It seems that one of the first targets for designation on the “A-List” will be this very blog. Mr. Mew is reporting that a WIPO spokesperson --who asked not to be identified by name -- explained that neither list has yet been ratified, but possible blogs for inclusion on the “A-List” include yours truly Howard Knopf’s Excess Copyright (this very blog itself), which "is known to have targeted the much-admired United States ‘301 reports’." As to candidature for the “B List”, the IPKat reports that Mr. Mew has learned that:
Favourites for inclusion on the “B-List” are the Lessig Blog, which is generally held responsible for undermining copyright values among impressionable young readers and remains visible nearly two years after its author went into hibernation, Against Monopoly, for allegedly defending the right to innovate, and the IPKat for its persistent criticisms of WIPO’s failure to protect the rights in its own logo...We look forward to further news from London and Geneva on related front. Check back for further developments via the IPKat blog here and here.