Intellectual Property on the Internet

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will consider in December a new treaty that would require most countries (including the U.S.) to curtail the public’s rights to use public domain materials stored in “databases.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is accepting public comments on this treaty; comments are due by November 22, 1996 and can be submitted to:

The public’s right to share information could be significantly reduced under this proposed new system of copyright for the Internet. In addition to placing new restrictions on the sharing of information, the proposal may lead to much greater surveillance over the flow of information.

  • For commentary and more information on the treaty go to Public Domain, a membership organization concerned with intellectual property issues.

  • For more information on related Internet property issues, check out Ralph Nader’s Consumer Project on Technology.