Consumers International campaigns against IP barons

When the United Nations Global Forum for Global Governance of the Internet meets this week, Consumers International will be there to combat the Intellectual Property barons in the crowd.

The watchdog group addressed the UN group yesterday to make the argument that copyright and patent laws are harming the rights of international consumers.

CI was quoted in the Intellectual Property Watch blog saying that copyright and patent laws “are often misused” and the reason why has “more to do with limiting competition and preventing consumers from making innovative uses of their products.”

They, like many others, are tired of the draconian limitations imposed on third party applications, media and devices like the iPhone. CI is also looking to do something about the regional codes that prevent DVDs bought in other countries from playing in a consumer’s home country.

The UN Internet Governance Forum meets Sept. 14-17 in Vilnius, Lithuania. It is a global think tank of various groups who have a stake in the public policy regarding the Internet and technology. This year’s theme focuses on Internet governance and its use as a tool for development of nations.  

They are especially keen on discussing how global governance of the internet can be used to achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.  The goals are a system of campaigns which aim to end world poverty by 2015.

CI’s effort to speak directly to some of the influential people from the technology, and Internet industries as well as UN personnel, is something that is long overdue.

There is a large group of people who feel that IP and human rights are of equal status. CI wants to end that by speaking directly to the decision makers and convincing them to make changes.

According to CI rep Jeremy Malcolm, IP rights and human rights “for too long” have been portrayed as having equal status, while in actuality, the misuse of IP obstructs “freedom of expression, education and participation in cultural life.”

In CI, we have an organization that is dedicated to shifting the balance of power back to the technology consumer. Too often company policies in technology look to control how people can utilize a product, even after they have paid several hundred dollars to acquire the product.


It will be very interesting to see what affect CI’s hard work has on the global perception of IP. This is a good way to get this important issue out in the view of the public. Consumer’s rights are important because the free market system offers the best solution for the economic woes the industrialized giants of the world are facing.  

When people have the freedom to pursue their interest in developing their own technology, they will make better use of digital resources than think tanks of global control freaks.

Those of us who care about the right to access content and use the devices we pay for without wacky provisions from the manufacturer should pay attention to the policy issues with IP.

If we give IP the attention it needs maybe people will start to care. That would be awesome if they did care, because the consumer has the ultimate power in a true free market economy.