World Intellectual Property Organization

Issues for Developing Countries in the Digital Environment

375. This Chapter examines the current situation with respect to developing countries in the digital environment.  First, it examines the "digital divide" and the differential pattern of developing and least developed countries in take-up of the new technologies.  The changing nature and demographics of Internet use is discussed, as well as the role of innovation and creativity, as intellectual property, in bridging that digital divide.  Finally, it examines the role of WIPO, as an international intergovernmental organization mandated to work with developing countries in the field of intellectual property, to overcome the challenges and realize the potential offered by the digital age.  Two programs, in particular, are highlighted:  the museums project, and the development of traditional knowledge databases and digital libraries.


376. The digital divide subsists between developed and developing countries, despite growing concern and a proliferation of international programs designed to encourage developing countries' progress and engagement in the digital economy.  At the same time, however, we are witnessing a transformation in the demographics of Internet users, including dramatic growth in online populations in developing country regions, and a change in the culture and content of online material.  Progress is not uniform among developing countries and countries whose economies are in transition.  The countries that have experienced most digital development include those that have placed emphasis on e-government, IT education and skills training, and have implemented legal and policy infrastructures that encourage investment in e-commerce, including intellectual property laws and services. 

377. The network of networks that is the Internet creates an insatiable demand for content, and an opportunity for its production that has not been fully taken up by the developing countries.  The implementation of copyright laws, modernized by the WIPO Internet Treaties, enable these countries to encourage creative development and protect it in the online environment.  The digital economy also rewards technical ingenuity, and this investment in research and invention has traditionally been protected through the patent system.  Those countries that have implemented systems to encourage and reward such ingenuity are also well placed to exploit the opportunities offered by the digital age.  Significant challenges remain, however, and WIPO's role is to assist developing countries to use the intellectual property system as a means to encourage innovation and creativity, reward investment in the digital economy, and preserve and exploit their cultural heritage in a global marketplace.


378. As the Internet and its "killer apps", including the World Wide Web and e-mail, have evolved, it is evident that digital technologies are transforming the way in which international trade and communications are conducted.  These changes originated in the developed world, in North America and Europe, where the Internet and its related information technologies (IT) were developed, but have been taken up by virtually every country in the world.  Early expectations focused on a "global information infrastructure," with increased participation in policy development and engagement in e-commerce by all countries.  The reality is somewhat different.  A "digital divide" now exists between technologically developed and developing countries, as well as between populations within countries, and between genders and age groups worldwide. [486] The G8 Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force), described the phenomenon as follows:

"This "digital divide" is, in effect, a reflection of existing broader socio-economic inequalities and can be characterized by insufficient infrastructure, high cost of access, inappropriate or weak policy regimes, inefficiencies in the provision of telecommunication networks and services, lack of locally created content, and uneven ability to derive economic and social benefits from information-intensive activities." [487]

379. The United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, talked of building "digital bridges" to enable the socio-economic development of billions of people throughout the world who are not connected to the digital technologies and their potential benefits. [488]  The international community faces the challenge of ensuring that all countries are equipped to take advantage of the promise held out by the digital technologies and ensuring that the digital divide does not widen. [489]  An Orbicom study on "Monitoring the Digital Divide", that sought to quantify the digital and knowledge divide based on nine sample countries benchmarked against Canada, concluded that "the magnitude of the gap between developed and developing countries is enormous." [490]  As demonstrated below, the study did find that the digital divide is narrowing, if slowly, although with marked differences in speed among countries depending to a large extent on the diffusion of new technologies. [491] 

Source:  George Sciadas, "Monitoring the Digital Divide," Orbicom-CIDA Project Report, at p.20 (2002).  Reproduced with the permission of Orbicom.


Source:  George Sciadas, "Monitoring the Digital Divide," Orbicom-CIDA Project Report, at p.23 (2002).  Reproduced with the permission of Orbicom.

380. The intellectual property system is a tool that may be used to narrow the digital divide.  National policies and legal systems that include up-to-date intellectual property laws can support foreign and local investment and encourage the creation of local content that enables the population to derive economic as well as social benefits from their creative endeavors.  As described in the Digital Opportunity Initiative Report:

"Although historically many developing countries appeared to benefit from reverse engineering and lax enforcement of intellectual property rights, in the long run the development of knowledge-intensive industries is unlikely to take place without appropriate property and commercial laws.  These regimes should incorporate generally accepted principles of fairness, speed and dependability of execution, effective enforcement, and compliance with international norms regarding intellectual property rights protection." [492]

WIPO and the international intellectual property system play an important role in enabling developing countries to build the bridges that enable them to engage in e-commerce, promoting the future development of their intellectual property, while protecting and preserving their cultural heritage.


381. As described in Chapter I, [493] the online population is expanding exponentially, growing in size by four annually and, while currently numbering some 605 million users, is forecast to reach more than 709 million users by 2004, and one billion by 2005. [494]  This figure, however, still represents only about 10% of the global population, and reflects a world where one third of people have never made a telephone call. [495]  Online access is also unevenly distributed geographically - of worldwide users:  some 37% are in the Americas, 31% in Asia, 29% in Europe, and only 1% in Africa. [496] 

382. To a degree, this distribution reflects national levels of economic development, but is also affected by diverse issues that include:  the distribution of Internet hosts, availability and cost of access to telecommunications infrastructure;  levels of education and literacy (as well as technical or "e-literacy"), and regulatory policies on telecommunications and e-commerce.  The distribution of Internet "hosts" (referring to the number of computers directly linked to the Internet network), [497] for example, largely mirrors the dispersal of the online population.  The number of Internet hosts per 10,000 inhabitants is divided as follows:  1,333 Internet hosts in the Americas, 885 in Oceania, 191 in Europe, 29 in Asia and 3 in Africa. [498]  The cost of Internet access also varies widely between countries and regions depending upon telecommunications infrastructure and government policies, although, in general, the relatively high cost of access in developing countries places them at a disadvantage with respect to e-commerce readiness and development.  In Nepal, for example, the monthly Internet access charge represents 278% of average monthly income, compared to 60% in Sri Lanka, and 1.2% in the United States of America. [499]

383. Access to telecommunications technologies, including the Internet, is a significant step in bridging the digital divide, and there is an increasing awareness of its importance.  The Report of the G8 Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force) states:

"[Information and communication technologies] (ICT) cannot of course act as a panacea for all development problems, but by dramatically improving communication and exchange of information, they can create powerful social and economic networks, which in turn provide the basis for major advances in development.

By enabling these new networks to collect and share local knowledge and information, ICT can provide new and more efficient methods of production, bring previously unattainable markets within the reach of local producers, improve the delivery of government services, and increase access to basic social goods and services.  There need be no trade-off between investment in ICT and the achievement of development objectives." [500]

384. There is, at the same time, a broad change in global patterns of Internet use and access.  Demographically, the greatest increase in Internet users is foreseen to take place in Asia, where the number of users grew by 5.6% in the last quarter of 2001, compared with 4.9% growth in Europe, 3.3% in Latin America and 2.5% growth in the United States of America . [501]  It is forecast that the number of users in the Asia-Pacific region will rise to 180 million by the end of 2002, surpassing both Europe and North America, and is expected to rise to 236 million by 2004. [502]  In particular, the number of Chinese users is expected to increase by 36.6% to reach 51 million by 2004, while India's online population is anticipated to grow by 47% to reach 10.1 million by that time. [503]  The increase in user numbers in the Asia-Pacific region may bear a relationship to the growth in regional e-commerce revenues - it is forecast that revenues in the Asia-Pacific region will increase from US$76.8 billion at the end of 2001, to US$338.5 billion by the end of 2004. [504]

385. Similar Internet-based growth patterns can be observed in other developing country regions.  In Latin America, the online population is forecast to reach 60.6 million in 2004 (up from 33 million users in 2002). [505]  In Africa, historically an area of low Internet penetration, Internet use is also reported to be increasing.  The United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force reported in October 2002 that the number of dial-up Internet access subscribers in Africa had risen by 20% in the previous 18 months, concentrated in urban areas and through corporate networks.  Nevertheless, it reported that (excluding the relatively more developed South Africa and Northern Africa), only one in 250 Africans are online, compared to one in two North Americans and Europeans. [506]

386. Even as the pattern of Internet users is changing, as described above, [507] we are witnessing a transformation in the customs and nature of the Internet, exemplified by the decreasing dominance of English as a language both of users, and of content.  It is reported that 63.5% of global Internet users are from non-English speaking regions, reflecting the reality that 92% of the world's population are not native English speakers. [508]  Non-English language content is also increasing, and almost one third of websites are reportedly in a language other than English. [509]  Nevertheless, the lack of online content originating from beyond the industrial world, and the lack of development of software applications relevant to developing countries, deters national populations from accessing the Internet, and engaging in e-commerce, education and training.  In the African context, for example, the Economic Commission for Africa has stated that:

"The bottom line concerning ICT access and empowerment in Africa is content.  Only when useful information is available at affordable costs to the end user can it serve in development, and this means not only accessing content from elsewhere, but also generation and diffusion of content at all levels.  National content on the information highway is not only a heritage for social, cultural and intellectual development, but also represents the national "information capital" from which a vast array of value added products can be derived, with corresponding wealth generation by national industry and particularly the content industries." [510]


387. Despite, or because of, the lessons learned as a result of the bursting of the "" bubble in 2000, many commentators still believe that the Internet offers developing countries enhanced opportunities for accelerated integration into the global economy. [511]  In particular, there are comparative advantages for accessing new international markets at low cost and with minimal capital investment, for improving competitiveness and customer services, and for realizing cost savings by reducing physical transactions and overheads. [512]  Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular, may take advantage of these benefits and improvements in communication systems, particularly of mobile networks, to access new markets and reduce administration costs, while avoiding the traditional limitations of restricted access to information, high market-entry costs, and isolation from their potential markets. [513] 

388. The economic sectors likely to benefit the most from the introduction of e-commerce are in the services areas (computer hardware and software, tourism services, [514] publishing and information services, finance, Internet services, and other professional services), and this may be of particular relevance to emerging economies that are in the process of shifting their economic development priorities from the agricultural to the service sector. [515] 

389. On the other hand, developing countries also face a number of particular challenges in realizing these opportunities. [516]  These include the necessity for up-front investment in order to compete globally;  a relative lack of participation in policy-making and standard setting for e-commerce;  the competitive disadvantage resulting from a lack of capital convertibility of currency;  and the possible impact, or fear of impact, on government revenues.  The most significant constraint upon the growth of e-commerce in developing countries, however, may be the absence of a sufficient information infrastructure, consisting of affordable telecommunications, accessible network services, computer hardware and software, and technical know-how and support. 

390. In addition, developing countries often lack the electronic payment systems that are necessary to support commercial electronic transactions.  Only a small percentage of the populations in developing countries use credit cards and, in a number of countries, prohibitions exist on use of credit cards for transactions involving foreign currency. [517]  As a result, many businesses in developing countries currently use the Internet for marketing and communications purposes, rather than for commercial transactions.  Finally, as noted above, developing countries have a low density of computer population and a commensurate lack of public awareness of information technology and computer literacy.

391. Certain developing and least developed countries are responding to this challenge by investing in the expansion of telecommunication networks.  Others, such as Mozambique and the United Republic of Tanzania, for example, are ending state monopolies in this sector and liberalizing the telecommunications market.  The advent and relatively rapid commercial diffusion of satellite and wireless telecommunications is a development that is going some way towards easing access problems in developing countries.  E-commerce depends upon awareness in local business communities of the potential benefits to be gained through access to the Internet and e-commerce, and of the consequent need for investment in training human resources.  This, in turn, enables local communities, businesses and governments to take a lead role in developing policies for e-commerce which take into account each country's unique cultural and economic character.

392. Programs to increase public access to the Internet have been established by governments and the private sector in developing countries, and Internet access is being promoted not only through the use of personal computers but also through community-based centers. [518]  Numerous developing countries are also exploring the possibilities offered by the Internet for mass education purposes and for reaching isolated and rural communities, and community access centers are also now increasingly being used for distance learning purposes.  Faced with limited resources to invest in computing hardware, it is reported that a number of countries have explored the possibility of shared access via community centers in Jamaica, mobile Internet units in Asia, Internet cafes in Latin America and Eastern Europe, email kiosks in India and public Internet posts in Mongolia. [519] 


393. The level of digital development among countries classed as developing or least developed is not even.  Certain countries, such as India and Malaysia in the Asia-Pacific region, South Africa in the African region and Estonia among the Central and East European countries, have demonstrated relatively rapid uptake of digital technologies and corresponding growth in their digital economies.  While the reasons are manifold, the governments of countries that exhibit greater digital development have focused on training and export of information technologies, telecommunications and infrastructure development, and legal and policy regimes that promote the protection of intellectual property and are therefore conducive to e-development.

394. In Estonia, for example, more than 39% of Estonians currently use the Web and Internet usage in that country exceeds the usage rate in a number of Western European countries, including France and Italy. [520]  In the Central and Eastern European region in which Estonia is situated, however, Internet penetration is expected to reach only 21% by 2005, well below levels in Western Europe.  The main barriers to growth of Internet penetration in the region are described as low household incomes, slow deregulation of telecommunications and a lack of confidence and training in e-commerce. [521]  In Estonia, since 1991, the Government has focused on policy and regulatory reform to develop its market economy and attract foreign investment, and is using information technologies as a key tool in this endeavor, concentrating on connectivity and improving its telecommunications infrastructure.  Emphasizing education and skills training, every Estonian school is now online and "telecottages" connect remote rural areas, leading to a computer literacy rate higher than many countries in Western Europe.  Exploiting its intellectual capital is also a priority, as described in a Digital Opportunity Initiative report, "Estonia is attempting to leverage people and knowledge capital as key assets in its pursuit of economic development." [522] 

395. In Malaysia, the Government's "Vision 2020" development plan foresees a knowledge-rich Malaysian society, through the development of its technology and communications sector, including the high profile "Multimedia Super Corridor"(MSC) project began in 1994. [523]  The Government's plan is to position itself as a global leader in the information age, and it has implemented policies to encourage growth in the high technology sector and to promote local and foreign investment.  Significant investments are being made in telecommunications and network infrastructure, and in skills training and computer literacy through the Multimedia University and mobile Internet units designed for schools and isolated communities.  Malaysia has also encouraged local content development. [524]  In 1996, the Government adopted the National Information Technology Agenda and corresponding Council, designed to transform the country into a knowledge society, or "k-economy".  In order to protect the emerging digital economy, Malaysia revised its Copyright Act in 1997 to ensure adequate protection for companies investing in new technologies and multimedia. [525] 

396. India provides an example of a developing country that is successfully fostering its economic development by focusing on high technology, investing in its human resources through training and skills development, and implementing national policies and laws that establish intellectual property protection for its domestic and international endeavors.  The Digital Opportunity Initiative Report states that:  "India's well-established framework for protecting intellectual property rights has been an important inducement to business investment." [526]  The Indian software and service industry has flourished in this environment, reaching an annual revenue of US$10 billion in 2001-2.  Of this revenue, 76% is in software exports (of which 89% is destined for North America and Europe), a sector that grew 29% over the previous year.  In the current year, the software industry generated 92,000 new jobs, and indirect employment for 250,000 people. [527]  The software industry, currently attracting US$800 million in foreign direct investment to India, is forecast to attract US$1.2 billion by 2005.  The graph below demonstrates the role of information technologies in wealth creation in India. [528]

  Source:  Nasscom FYO2:  Software and Service Industry Performance (July 18, 2002)   at

397. Similar developments have taken place in some least developed countries including, for example, Bangladesh, which foresees software development as a focus for future export industries.  In Costa Rica, information communications technologies represent 38% of exports and have contributed to a major increase in gross national product.  The multinational high-tech manufacturer, Intel, decided to invest in a software and semiconductor development center in Costa Rica and to invest through its venture capital fund in a domestic software company, giving other companies the confidence to invest in the country. [529]  Costa Rica's strategy for e-development includes liberalized telecommunications and improving the protection of intellectual property rights.  It is notable that Costa Rica is a party to both WIPO Internet Treaties.


398. It is apparent that the digital divide is a multifaceted concept that does not merely trace the line between industrial and developing societies. [530]  As described above, among countries whose economies may be described as developing or least developed, there exist significant differences in levels of digital development, and participation in e-commerce and the digital economy.  While these differences may be ascribed to many causes, they are in part a reflection of the degree to which those countries have encouraged local innovation and content development, and promoted and protected their local industries through the intellectual property system. [531]

399. The importance of inventiveness and creativity in promoting economic development is well recognized.  Under the new conditions of the digital economy, the sources of wealth are increasingly found in intellectual, as opposed to physical, capital.  For example, it is technical innovation, traditionally rewarded through the patent system, that steers the evolution of the digital technologies and attracts investment.

400. In his book, Thomas Homer-Dixon describes "The Ingenuity Gap" [532] and explores the implications of the disparity between a society's demand for ingenuity to solve its problems and the supply of ideas in response to those problems.  He describes a "creativity divide", which preceded the digital divide and which, it is argued, can be addressed by advances in information technologies.  He states that:  "[t]he sweep of technological change ... is the most tangible evidence of the fabulous power of human ingenuity." [533]  Similarly, some commentators have spoken of the need for developing countries to "unleash" the creativity and intellectual capacity of their people, and utilize information and communications technologies to overcome the challenges of the digital divide. [534]  At the same time, it is important that intellectual property systems are in place that will enable countries to preserve their intellectual property heritage, including in music, art and medicine, to ensure that it is protected from unfair use, as well as to receive the benefits of its exploitation in a global economy.

401. The degree to which each country places importance on ingenuity and on its protection, is not simply a question of economic development, but is an outcome of policy decisions and priorities accorded by each government.  The effect of such policy choices is demonstrated in the graph and study described below.

The Geography of Technological Innovation and Achievement
UNDP Human Development Report 2001

402. As described in the UNDP Development Report 2001, a study by Wired Magazine rated global locations of significance in the digital environment based on the following four factors:  the ability to train skilled workers or develop new technologies, the presence of established companies and multinational corporations to provide expertise and economic stability, the population's entrepreneurialism, and the availability of venture capital. [535]  Forty-six locations were identified as technology hubs, shown on the above map as black circles. [536]  It is notable that prominent among those countries shown as leaders in the field of technology are a number of developing countries including Brazil, Hong Kong (SAR of China), India, Malaysia, South Africa, Taiwan (Province of the People's Republic of China) and Tunisia.  Among the "potential leader" countries shown on the map are included the following countries classed as developing or in transition:  Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.  Among the "dynamic adopters" are listed the following, all developing or least developed countries:  Algeria, Bolivia, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

403. There is a strong connection between the promotion and protection of investment in technological development, and the intellectual property system.  Effective national intellectual property laws provide the incentive for foreign investment as well as local research and development, establishing an environment where investment and output in technological development is protected.  A World Bank study of transition economies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia has presented evidence that foreign trade and investment is a key factor in technology transfer and in improving countries' and their domestic enterprises' Internet access. [537] 

404. Human resource development, particularly in the field of education, research and skills training in information and communications technologies has proven to be a key factor in narrowing the digital divide between one country and another, and between sectors of a national population.  Countries such as India have invested in self-reliance in technological education and  become exporters of high-tech human resources.  As a result, India's technical colleges graduate more than 73,000 skilled workers each year. [538]  The downturn in developed world economies has seen the return of numbers of these highly skilled workers to the developing countries, bringing with them the valuable experience gained in overseas markets, in a form of human technology transfer. [539]  There remains, however, a considerable shortage of skilled IT professionals, able to support the infrastructures and applications incorporated in e-businesses.  It is forecast that demand for IT workers, at least in the United States of America, will continue to outstrip supply at least into 2004. [540]  Countries that elect to invest in education aimed at "digital literacy" and training of skilled workers, are well placed to capitalize on this demand, both within and without the developing regions. [541]


405. How can the international community, and international organizations such as WIPO, assist developing countries to take advantage of the benefits of the digital environment, while avoiding its pitfalls?  How can intellectual property protection and services, and the assistance of WIPO, play a positive role in facilitating the development of e-commerce in developing countries? 

406. As a first step, the participation of developing countries in e-commerce may be enhanced through the provision of development cooperation and assistance to install and update basic telecommunications infrastructure, including through programs such as WIPONET, described in Chapter VI (b)(i). [542]  At the same time, it is important that each country establish a framework of intellectual property laws and regulations, and the concomitant intellectual property services, to reassure intellectual property owners and commercial enterprises that their assets will be protected in an online environment.  This legal infrastructure encourages private sector investment, accelerates economic development and provides a secure foundation on which a digital economy can develop.  Investment is also needed in education, information sharing and skills training programs, to encourage participation in e-commerce.

407. One of the most significant steps developing countries may take to establish this legal infrastructure is the incorporation of international intellectual property agreements, such as the Berne Convention [543] and Paris Convention, [544] the WIPO Internet Treaties (WCT and WPPT), and the TRIPS Agreement, into national law.  These treaties, each now in force, modernize intellectual property laws for the digital environment and provide governments with the tools to protect their nationals' intellectual property assets both nationally and internationally, as well as to ensure that their territories do not become havens for intellectual property piracy and infringement, thereby discouraging international investment and technology transfer. [545]  WIPO's technical assistance program for least developed countries (LDCs) has organized a number of national, regional and interregional meetings for LDCs to raise awareness of the implications and assist in the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement. [546]

408. WIPO is endeavoring, through its programs of cooperation for development, to mitigate the disadvantages faced by developing countries and LDCs, and to ensure that they are able to participate in the rapid development of electronic commerce.  The WIPO Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) Division also works to raise awareness of intellectual property issues related to e-commerce, with an emphasis on smaller businesses that are most prevalent in developing countries.[547]  The major emphasis of these programs is on education and skills training, with the aim of building awareness of the ways in which e-commerce is affecting intellectual property and the ways in which intellectual property may facilitate e-commerce, and of assisting developing countries to formulate responses to these issues.  WIPO's programs therefore concentrate on assisting practitioners and policy-makers in developing countries to understand, assess and assimilate the new technologies.

409. The initial discussions on the intellectual property implications of e-commerce for developing countries took place at the first session of the WIPO Permanent Committee on Cooperation for Development Related to Intellectual Property in June 1999.  Since that time, WIPO has organized three series of regional consultations directly related to its Digital Agenda and e-commerce.  The first series of regional consultations, conducted between June and August 1999, involved meetings in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Kingston (Jamaica), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Mombasa (Kenya), and Rabat (Morocco).  The second series of regional consultations, conducted between May and October 2000, involved meetings in Sao Paulo (Brazil), Kingston (Jamaica), Amman (Jordan), Krakow (Poland) and Chiang Mai (Thailand).  The third series of WIPO regional consultations on e-commerce, to be conducted over 2002-3, has, to date, involved meetings in Minsk (Belarus), Kingston (Jamaica) and Colombo (Sri Lanka).  These meetings are designed to assist developing countries to gain access to intellectual property information, receive specific guidance through model provisions, participate in global policy formulation and exploit the opportunities offered by digital technologies.

410. In addition, as a component of the two WIPO Internet Domain Name Processes, WIPO conducted two series of regional consultations in conjunction with its online consultations.  These consultations were designed to inform as well as gather information and regional views on the reform of the Internet domain name system and the management of related intellectual property issues. [548]  The discussions were taken into account in formulating the recommendations put forward in the final reports of the two Processes, published in 1999 and 2001. [549]

411. The regional consultations, and the WIPO Internet Domain Name Processes, highlighted a number of concerns and issues of developing countries in the digital context, namely:

- identification of the intellectual property issues raised by e-commerce, and assistance in the formulation of appropriate policies in response to those issues;

- development of a modernized intellectual property regime conducive to e-commerce, that protects the rights of indigenous artists, creators and small businesses, while also providing a basis for economic development and investment;

- provision of technical assistance aimed at enhancing intellectual property protection through, in particular, projects for the automation of national, sub-regional and regional Intellectual Property Offices and related institutions, such as national societies for the collective management of copyright;

- assistance in the development of national and regional intellectual property policy and legislation;

- assistance in the development and administration of national Internet domain name resources, principally the country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), and related design and provision of dispute resolution procedures to resolve domain name conflicts;  and

- the conduct of public awareness campaigns and specialized training activities.

412. The WIPO Digital Agenda, issued at the close of the first WIPO International Conference on Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property, and approved by the WIPO Member States at their Assemblies in September 1999, focused the first of its ten points on how developing countries may be assisted by the Organization to draw maximum benefit from the use of intellectual property law and services to participate in e-commerce. [550]  E-commerce, and its implications for developing countries was also prominent in the program of the second WIPO International Conference on Electronic Commerce and Intellectual Property, held in September 2001. [551]  E-commerce, and its implications for developing countries, has also featured on the agenda of the meetings of the WIPO Assemblies annually since September 1999, and numerous developing country delegations have emphasized their concern of ensuring equal access to the opportunities offered by the digital technologies.  The Member States have noted that WIPO has a fundamental role to play in this respect, in cooperation with relevant international organizations, such as the International TelecommunicationsUnion (ITU), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

413. The WIPONET project, as described in Chapter VI(b)(i) and noted in the WIPO Digital Agenda, assists developing countries to access intellectual property information in digital form.  By providing a basic level of connectivity to those Intellectual Property Offices not yet on line, together with the skills training to utilize it, it enhances those countries' opportunities to utilize their intellectual property assets in e-commerce.  The integration of WIPO's developing country Member States into WIPONET is aimed at significantly broadening their participation in e-commerce and participation in policy-making for its future development.

414. With respect to LDCs, WIPO has provided assistance to 34 such countries to assist in the technical upgrading of their Intellectual Property Offices, in particular to ensure access to information technology support systems.  In light of the efficiency gains described in Chapter VI(a), WIPO has also facilitated the visits of advisory missions to those offices in most LDCs, including those who are not Members of WIPO, to provide advice on modernizing management systems and streamlining their administrative procedures.

415. WIPO, through the WIPO Worldwide Academy, is delivering an Internet and CD-ROM based distance learning program on intellectual property for developing countries, now conducted in English, French and Spanish, and in development in Arabic, Russian and Portuguese.  Since June 1999, some 10,000 participants from 136 countries have registered in this program.  Educational modules devoted to teaching intellectual property aspects of e-commerce have been developed and will be deployed in 2003.  The program largely relies on academic inputs by developing country universities and other individuals and research institutions worldwide.


416. E-commerce has clear implications for developing countries' traditional means for protecting intellectual property rights, and for the protection and dissemination of indigenous intellectual property in the newly accessible global markets. [552]  In this context, WIPO is developing projects that may assist in the digital exploitation of countries' cultural and artistic heritage in an online environment.  The WIPO museums project, described below, is an example of this work.  At the same time, some developing countries may be reluctant to fully embrace e-commerce through fear that their indigenous intellectual property may be put at greater risk of infringement by exposure in the global digital environment.  The development of a strong intellectual property framework, as noted above, and facilitated discussion of issues such as security, encryption technologies, privacy, consumer protection and dispute settlement, for example, address these fears and encourage developing countries to exploit the opportunities offered by e-commerce. [553]

417. Museums play an important role in collecting, conserving, exhibiting and disseminating the cultural and artistic heritage of the world.  They preserve cultural integrity and diversity, and fulfil their mission of exhibiting their collections to an audience that may be both national and international.  Until now, museums have managed the physical objects in their collections and pursued traditional means to fulfil their mandate.  With the development of digital technology, the cultural heritage contained in museum collections - which may consist of manuscripts, photographs, paintings, sculpture and cultural artifacts - may now be digitized and disseminated in digital form using new media and networked channels.  Digitization may involve the creation of digital images reproduced from the museums' collections.  Once any work has been captured digitally it may be transmitted freely, or under license and protected by technical means, over networks such as the Internet. 

418. The digitization of museum images offers great promise, particularly in developing countries, for promoting economic development, academic and scientific research and education.  It may allow museums to manage and exploit their collections of cultural and artistic heritage, while encouraging the sharing and increase of knowledge of the world's culture.  The creation of a digital archive may assist in preserving national cultural heritage and, by giving artists access to their cultural patrimony, provide an incentive for further creativity.  The Internet offers museums - including small, regional and specialist museums and galleries - a unique opportunity, largely unexplored to date, to make their cultural riches available to any person in the general community with access to a computer network.

419. At the same time, however, the process of making digitized museum images available online may involve significant investment and pose some risks to museums as custodians of cultural heritage.  Museums wishing to place their collections online must first process the electronic images of their works.  Digitization can be an expensive and technically complex process, and there are attendant costs associated with establishing and maintaining an online presence to enable such images to be publicly accessed.  Once in digital form, concerns about protection of intellectual property rights have come to the fore.  These concerns have sometimes paralyzed those who would otherwise enthusiastically embrace the new technologies.  This situation is complicated by the fact that, within many museums, rights administration procedures are currently based on a physical, print model of publication and distribution, and do not envisage the possibility of digital images of the works.  Thus, in order to digitize works, museums would face the issue of whether the rights they currently hold would entitle them to make digital reproductions, which in turn may entail interpreting the scope of any agreements between the museums and artists.  It is therefore important that museums are able to come to an understanding of these issues and to exercise control over the availability and use of their digital collections, so as to minimize the risks involved.

420. Development of digital museum projects is thus constrained by the lack of experience, international accepted norms and standards in this area.  There are, in addition, no widely accepted contractual licensing arrangements for making cultural material available online.  Museum digitization projects raise policy, technical and financial issues that need to be addressed before museum images are made available in the digital environment. [554]

421. In the face of these uncertainties, a number of cultural heritage institutions are developing new projects for online licensing of their collections, led by a number of museum consortia. [555] These entities have focused on making images available, free-of-charge, for educational purposes.  The Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO), [556] for example, is a not-for-profit organization that provides a database documenting some 100,000 digitized artworks drawn from 30 museums in North America, that are principally licensed for use by educational institutions for research and teaching purposes.  Similarly, the Museums and the Online Archive of California Project MOAC, provides free public access to more than 150,000 images drawn from 11 public and private museums, libraries and archival collections in California. [557]  Another model of digital exploitation may be found in the online collection of the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg. [558]  The Hermitage Museum has made its digital collection available free-of-charge for personal use only, and has incorporated a system of invisible watermarks to ensure that the digital use of the images can be monitored.

422. WIPO is exploring the potential of a museum project to assist museums in developing countries in particular, to make images from their collections of cultural heritage and related information available online for commercial, educational and social purposes.  The project would explore the intellectual property, legal and administrative issues that define a system for providing cultural heritage images over digital networks.  The project would also explore and develop appropriate technologies to provide and regulate access to the collections, including technological protection measures to protect the images against unlawful copying and manipulation, which can be built into a comprehensive web-based electronic image management system.  Such new systems would need to be carefully integrated with museums' existing collection management systems.  Potential user groups, with appropriate terms and conditions for each, would also need to be defined, including universities and the academic and research communities, primary schools, periodicals, individual users and commercial interests. 

423. At this early stage of the project, WIPO has provided intellectual property advice to institutions of cultural heritage located in several Member States, initially in the Arab region.  In addition, a study was commissioned by the International Intellectual Property Institute in 2001, entitled "Managing Museum Digital Assets:  A Resource Guide for Museums."

424. The project is intended to be integrated with WIPOnet, the global intellectual property information network discussed in Chapter VI(b).  The WIPOnet will allow museums participating in the project to have their online collections hosted on servers maintained within the framework of WIPOnet.  In this way, WIPO may be in a unique position to provide expert assistance to such museums and to enhance networked access to their collections, and enable developing countries to protect and manage their cultural and artistic heritage by employing the intellectual property system in an electronic environment.


425. Intellectual property protection for traditional knowledge has been put forward as a potential means for countries' economic development, and has been the subject of discussions in WIPO's Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore since its first meeting in 2001. [559]  In order to fulfil this promise, however, systems are required that will enable the ready exchange of intellectual property information related to traditional knowledge.  One means of achieving such an exchange is through an infrastructure based on digital networks and databases.

426. The use of such digital networks and databases seeks to achieve a double objective: 

(a) for disclosed traditional knowledge, the databases would aim at defensive protection of the knowledge.  "Defensive protection" refers to measures aimed at preventing the acquisition of intellectual property rights over traditional knowledge by parties other than the customary traditional knowledge holders themselves.  Databases which improve the availability, searchability and exchange of traditional knowledge as prior art may therefore be considered as measures for the defensive protection of traditional knowledge;

(b) for undisclosed traditional knowledge, if so desired by the knowledge holders, the databases could aim to facilitate the positive legal protection of the knowledge.  "Positive legal protection" refers to the use of existing intellectual property or contractual rights, or the development of sui generis rights, to enable the affirmative protection of traditional knowledge by and for traditional knowledge holders themselves.  In some countries, traditional knowledge databases or registries fulfil this objective because registration may give rise to specific rights of the traditional knowledge holders to restrict the way the traditional knowledge is used by others, or to claim compensation for its use.

427. With respect to the use of databases for positive legal protection of traditional knowledge, discussions have focused on the relationship between patents granted for traditional knowledge-based inventions and the relevant "prior art" in the field.  As described in the WIPO "Progress Report on the Status of Traditional Knowledge as Prior Art," [560]  the term "prior art" refers to the body of knowledge available to the public before the filing date (or priority date, if priority is claimed), of an application for registration of a patent, utility model or industrial design.  Examiners refer to the relevant prior art and compare it to the claimed subject matter when assessing such applications, in order to determine whether the requirements of novelty and inventive step have been met.  Recently, concerns have been raised as to whether disclosed traditional knowledge has been adequately taken into account when searching the prior art (e.g., it is claimed that pharmaceutical patents have been granted which had to be revoked once traditional medicines were considered as part of the relevant prior art).  The question is how the documentation that records disclosed traditional knowledge originating from new intellectual property stakeholders, such as indigenous and local communities, may be integrated into the body of searchable prior art that is accessible to patent examiners.  In this respect, information communications technologies may provide some answer.  It is to be emphasized that this approach has been taken only for disclosed traditional knowledge, which in most countries is considered to be in the public domain. 

428. The challenge lies in the fact that traditional knowledge information is not readily available or well ordered, nor can it be easily retrieved, because no searchable databases of traditional knowledge information have been made available to the patent-granting authorities.  Following its proposal made in the WIPO Standing Committee on Information Technology, [561] the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of India has developed a prototype Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), [562] based on the existing WIPO program of Intellectual Property Digital Libraries.  In cooperation with the CSIR, WIPO has developed a test database that includes data on the traditional uses of 50 medicinal plants from South Asia, based on information in the public domain compiled in the Indian "Health Heritage" database by the CSIR. [563]  The project aims to utilize digital technologies to ensure that relevant parties have adequate access to non-patent literature dealing with disclosed traditional knowledge as prior art.

429. Subsequently, WIPO has established a portal [564] that provides access to other online databases of traditional knowledge compiled by third parties.  In addition to the Indian Health Heritage test database, access is provided to databases relating to traditional Chinese medicine patents, Indian ayurveda, and the World Bank Indigenous Knowledge database.  These database applications are designed to make disclosed traditional knowledge data available to Intellectual Property Offices, so as to be integrated into their existing procedures for filing, examination, granting and application of intellectual property titles, and to enable the electronic exchange of standardized data within intellectual property information systems and the general public, as appropriate.  With respect to the use of databases for positive legal protection of traditional knowledge, Member States, indigenous peoples and local communities are compiling registers of traditional knowledge, usually in limited-access databases, in efforts to organize, promote and protect their heritage of traditional knowledge and to facilitate its exchange.  Such registers have been created in India, Peru, the Philippines, and by the Inuit of Nunavik and the Dene in Canada.  In addition to their proven usefulness in improving the availability and exchange of information in digital form, such registers may gain even greater importance if legal protection is granted to registered knowledge. [565]

[486] For a general discussion of the digital divide, see the presentation of J. O. Okpaku, Sr., President and CEO, Telecom Africa Corporation, Second WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 2001).

[487] See Report of the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force), "Digital Opportunities for All:  Meeting the Challenge," (May 11, 2001), at p.6, available at  The DOT Force was created by the G8 Heads of State at their Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, July 2000, and comprised 43 teams from government, private sector, non-profit organizations and international organizations, representing developed and developing countries.

[488] Message of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in Accra, Ghana, March 10 to 14, 2002.  See also the Report of the UN ICT Task Force Meeting "Digital Bridge to Africa:  The Launch of the Digital Diaspora Network - Africa," (DDN-A), New York (July 12, 2002).

[489] Research demonstrates that 55 countries in the world account for more than 99% of all spending on information technology.  See 1999 IDC/World Times Information Society Index, at  Moreover, more than two-thirds of the online users are located in the United States and Europe.  See Datamonitor, "The Future of the Internet" at

[490] George Sciadas, "Monitoring the Digital Divide," Orbicom-CIDA Project Report, at p.vii, (2002), available at  Orbicom is composed of the UNESCO Chairs in Communications.

[491] Ibid, at p.23.

[492] Accenture, Markle and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), "Creating a Development Dynamic: Final Report of the Digital Opportunity Initiative," July 2001, at para.3.1.4., available at

[493] See Chapter I, paras.7-8.

[494] See Nua Internet Surveys, report, "More than 600 million people have Net access," (November 1, 2002), at  See also Caspian Networks, "Internet Still Growing Dramatically Says Internet Founder,"

[495] See Report of the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force), "Digital Opportunities for All:  Meeting the Challenge," (May 11, 2001), at p.6, available at

[496] See "World Telecommunication Indicators," ITU (March 2002), at A-67.  See above, ITU graph showing "Geographical Distribution of Online Population," at Chapter I, para.8.

[497] An "Internet host" is a component of a computer network consisting of two computer systems:  the host is the system that contains the data, while the user's computer is called the remote terminal:  see definition given by Webopedia at

[498] See "World Telecommunication Indicators," ITU (March 2002), at A-67.

[499] See United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), "Human Development Report 2001," 2001, at p.81 (Figure 4.1), available at  See also above, ITU graph showing "Dial-Up Internet Tariffs, 2001" at Chapter I, para.9.

[500] See Report of the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force), "Digital Opportunities for All:  Meeting the Challenge," (May 11, 2001), at p.3, available at

[501] See Nua Internet Surveys, ZDNet (UK) Report, "Half a Billion Online," (March 8, 2002), at

[502] A study conducted by eMarketer indicates that by the end of 2002, there are expected to be more than 180 million users in the Asia Pacific region, compared with 175.7 million users in Latin America, and 4.6 million in Africa.  See Nua Internet Surveys, eMarketer Report, "Asia-Pacific to Have Most Internet Users," (September 6, 2002), at

[503] See Nua Internet Surveys, Newsbytes Asia Report, "Asian Pacific Net Users to Reach 72 Million This Year," (January 8, 2001), at

[504] See Nua Internet Surveys, eMarketer Report, "Ecommerce Revenues to Rise in Asia-Pacific," (October 22, 2002), at

[505] See Nua Internet Surveys, eMarketer Report, "Latin American Net Population to Soar," (October 21, 2002), at

[506] Growth of Internet Use in Africa

Source:  Mike Jensen, "Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Africa - A Status Report," (UNICTTF III/2002/13) to the Third Task Force Meeting, New York,   (September 30 - October 1, 2002), available at See also Nua Internet Surveys,  Reuters Report "Internet Use Increasing in Africa," (October 1, 2002), at

[507] See Chapter I, para.10.

[508] Global Internet Statistics, reported by Global Reach (September 30, 2002), at

[509] Messaging Online, reported at WorldLingo, at

[510] United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) "Digital Opportunities:  Challenges and Prospects for Africa:  Background Note,"  in ECOSOC, Dialogues at the Economic and Social Council "Supporting Africa's Efforts to Achieve Sustainable Development" at Chapter IV, available at

[511] See presentation of A. Soota, Chairman and Managing Director, MindTree Consulting, on Developing Countries and Electronic Commerce, First WIPO E-commerce Conference (September 1999).

[512] For a description of cost savings realized through e-commerce, see United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), "E-Commerce and Development Report, 2001" (UNCTAD/SDTE/ECB/1), at Chapter 2(B).  See also presentations of  O. Jorge Mera, Secretary of State, President, Dominican Institute of Telecommunications, Dominican Republic;  R. Soto Platero, Board Member, National Chamber of Commerce, Uruguay;  and J. Okpaku Sr., President and CEO, Telecom Africa Corporation, Nigeria, at Second WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 2001).  See also presentation of the Honorable R. Farley, MP, Minister of Industry and International Business, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Business Development, Barbados, First WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 1999).

[513] E-commerce offers particular benefits for SMEs in emerging economies, such as Latin America and the Caribbean region.  See presentation of Senator Dale D. Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Public-Private Sector Committee of Experts on Electronic Commerce of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), First WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 1999).

[514] For a discussion of the importance of e-commerce in tourism for developing countries, see United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), "E-Commerce and Development Report, 2001" (UNCTAD/SDTE/ECB/1), at Chapter 3. 

[515] See also presentation of Senator Dale D. Marshall, Chairman of the Joint Public-Private Sector Committee of Experts on Electronic Commerce of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), First WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 1999).

[516] See presentation of  A. Soota, Chairman and Managing Director, MindTree Consulting, on Developing Countries and Electronic Commerce, First WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 1999).

[517] Among 1 billion Visa cards issued worldwide, only 2% are issued to holders in Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa:  see United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), E-Commerce and Development Report, 2001" (UNCTAD/SDTE/ECB/1), at Chapter 7, p.148.

[518] See, for example, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)'s development initiative, the Electronic Commerce for Developing Countries (EC-DC) pilot project, with its goal to establish B2C e-businesses run and operated by local professionals in developing countries, and which makes use of shared infrastructure and community-based network centers.  By 2001, more than 225 organizations were participating in the EC-DC project, involving more than 110 countries in Africa, the Asia & Pacific region, Europe and the CIS, the Americas and the Arab States:  see  See also Alexander Ntoko, "Bridging the Digital Divide," ISR (March/April 2001), available at

[519] See Ashfaq Ishaq, "On the Global Digital Divide," Vol 38(3), Finance & Development:  International Monetary Fund (September 2001).

[520] See Nua Internet Surveys, Europemedia Report (based on a TSIInteractive Study), "Estonia Top for Net Usage in Central Europe," (September 3, 2002), at

[521] See Nua Internet Surveys, Yankee Group Report, "Internet Use Up in Central, Eastern Europe," (November 29, 2001), at

[522] Accenture et al (2001), supra note 492, at Appendix 3, Case 3 - Estonia.

[523] The Malaysian Multimedia Super Corridor, launched in 1998 and anticipated to involve 20 years of development, is 15 km wide and 50 km long, stretching from Kuala Lumpur to the international airport, and includes two "smart cities" (Putrajaya, the new seat of e-Government, and Cyberjaya, a multimedia center for research and development, a MultiMedia University and hub for multinational IT headquarters);  see

[524] See, for example, the Agritani e-Marketplace, that provides an online agricultural trading site for farmers in the Asia Pacific region,;  cited in Accenture et al (2001), supra note 492, at Appendix 3, Case 5 - Malaysia.

[525] See R. Ramachandran, National Information Technology Council (NITC), Malaysia, "K-Measures Towards Building a Knowledge Society and Economy," (May 2002), available at

[526] Accenture et al, supra note 492, at Appendix 3, Case 4 - India.

[527] The Indian software and service industry is expected to reach US$12.3 billion by 2002-3.  See "Nasscom FY02 - Software and Service Industry Performance Report," (2002), available at

[528] See Nasscom FYO2 - Software and Service Industry Performance (July 18, 2002), at p.8, available at

[529] See UNDP Human Development Report 2001. See also Accenture et al, supra note 492, at para. 2.3.3.

[530] Joseph O. Okpaku, Sr. spoke of the various aspects of the "digital divide" as including:  the infrastructure digital divide, the information digital divide, the knowledge digital divide, the intellectual digital divide, the human resource capacity divide, the cultural digital divide, the content digital divide and the digital opportunity divide in his presentation at the Second WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 2001).

[531] See Report of the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force), "Digital Opportunities for All:  Meeting the Challenge," (May 11, 2001), Action Point 8 (National and International Effort to Support Local Content and Applications Creation) at p.22, available at

[532] Thomas Homer-Dixon, "The Ingenuity Gap," (Vintage, 2001).

[533] See also Ishaq (2001), supra note 519.

[534] The UNDP writes of each government's need to "unleash the creativity of its people" in its Human Development Report 2001 at p.79.  Similarly, Joseph O. Okpaku, Sr., spoke of developing countries "unleasing their intellectual capacity" in his presentation at Second WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 2001).

[535] UNDP Development Report 2001.  Wired Magazine is at

[536] The 36 locations identified as technology hubs were as follows, in descending order of significance:  Silicon Valley (USA), Boston (USA), Stockholm-Kista (Sweden), Israel, Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (USA), London (United Kingdom), Helsinki (Finland), Austin, (USA), San Francisco (USA), Taipei (Taiwan, Province of the People's Republic of China), Bangalore (India), New York City (USA), Albuquerque (USA), Montreal (Canada), Seattle (USA), Cambridge (United Kingdom), Dublin (Ireland), Los Angeles (USA),  Malmo (Sweden), Copenhagen (Denmark), Bavaria (Germany), Flanders (Belgium), Tokyo (Japan), Kyoto (Japan), Hsinchu (Taiwan, Province of the People's Republic of China), Virginia (USA), Thames Valley (United Kingdom), Paris (France), Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany), Oulu (Finland), Melbourne (Australia), Hong Kong (SAR of China), Chicago (USA), Queensland (Australia), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Salt Lake City (USA), Santa Fe (USA), Glasgow-Edinburgh (United Kingdom), Saxony (Germany), Sophia Antipolis (France), Inchon (Republic of Korea), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Campinas (Brazil), Singapore, Trondheim (Norway), El Ghazala (Tunisia), Gauteng (South Africa);  source, Hillner 2000.

[537] See George R. G. Clarke, "Bridging the Digital Divide:  How Enterprise Ownership and Foreign Competition Affect Internet Accession Eastern Europe and Central Asia," The World Bank, Development Research Group, Regulation and Competition Policy (July 2001).

[538] See UNDP Human Development Report 2001 at p.37.  The Indian Government has established Indian Institutes of Technology in several cities and a policy to encourage research and development in personal computing, and revenues from the IT training sector continue to grow:  see Accenture et al (2001) at Appendix 3, Case 4 - India.

[539] Joseph O. Okpaku, Sr. has stated:

"Significantly, the topography of the ICT Human Resource Digital Divide cannot be drawn along any traditional lines of nationality, race or economy, because the earlier globalisation, the globalisation of education, brought together peoples from around the world to the centres of excellence in IT research and development.  Today, it is an understatement to say that a major source (by no means all) of the scientific and engineering expertise driving the innovation and creating the solutions which drive the New Economy comes from experts from the developing world working at academic and research institutions mainly in the industrial world." 

See presentation at Second WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 2001).  See also UNDP Human Development Report 2001, quoting Chang 2001, at p.103.


See IDC eNewsletter, ITForecaster, "The War for IT Talent is Over, and the Talent Won," (March 20, 2001), at  See also Marianne Kolding, IDC Report, "Europe's IT Skills Shortage:  2001-2005" (August 2002), abstracted at

[541] See Report of the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force), "Digital Opportunities for All:  Meeting the Challenge," Action Point 3 at p.16 (May 11, 2001), available at  See also the G8 Africa Action Plan, para. 5.4 (Helping Africa create digital opportunities), at  See Accenture et al (2001), supra note 492, at para 3.1.2.  See also the discussion of ICT e-education initiatives in Africa by Karima Bounemra Ben Soltane, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Report, "Regional ICT Developments:  The AISI Perspective," at part II(i) (UNICTTF III/2002/15);  and by Nii Narku Quaynor, "Africa's Digital Rights", both presented at Third Meeting of the UN-ICT Task Force, New York, (September 30 - October 1, 2002).

[542] There is also scope for joint projects of cooperation for development, such as the ITU Electronic Commerce for Developing Countries (EC-DC) project, which focuses on web-based marketing and consumer sales by small and medium enterprises:  see ITU website at

[543] Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, available at

[544] Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, available at

[545] See presentation of the Honorable W. M. Daley, Secretary of Commerce, Department of Commerce, United States of America, First WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 1999), see also presentation of Senator D. Marshall, Chairman, Chairman of the Joint Public-Private Sector Committee of Experts on Electronic Commerce of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), First WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 1999).

[546] For further information about the work of the WIPO Least Developed Countries Unit, see

[547] See the WIPO SME's Division website as it relates to e-commerce, at

[548] The first WIPO Process consultations were conducted in 1998-1999 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Cairo (Egypt), Budapest (Hungary), Hyderabad (India), Mexico City (Mexico), Asunción (Paraguay), Dakar (Senegal), Singapore and Cape Town (South Africa).  The Second WIPO Process consultations were conducted in 2000-2001 in Brussels (Belgium), Accra (Ghana), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Melbourne (Australia), Washington D.C., (United States of America), Valencia (Spain), and in conjunction with regional e-commerce meetings, in São Paolo (Brazil), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Amman (Jordan), and Krakow (Poland).

[549] The first WIPO Process Report, "Management of Internet Names and Addresses:  Intellectual Property Issues," (1999) and the Second WIPO Process Report, "The Recognition of Rights and the Use of Names in the Internet Domain Name System," (2001) are available at

[550] For a full description of the WIPO Digital Agenda, see Chapter VII.  The 10-point WIPO Digital Agenda is also available at

[551] See presentations of  O. Jorge Mera, Secretary of State, President, Dominican Institute of Telecommunications, Dominican Republic;  R. Soto Platero, Board Member, National Chamber of Commerce, Uruguay;  and J. Okpaku Sr., President and CEO, Telecom Africa Corporation, Nigeria, at Second WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 2001).

[552] See presentations of M. Hentati, Curator of the Ennejma Ezzahra Palace, Assistant to Director, Centre for Arab and Mediterranean Music;  C. Karp, Director of Internet Strategy and Technology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, President Muse Doma, .MUSEUM;  M. Richard, Head of Multimedia Department, National Reunion of Museums, at Second WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 2001) .

[553] See presentation of the Honorable R. Farley, MP, Minister of Industry and International Business, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Business Development, Barbados, First WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 1999).

[554] For detailed discussion of these issues, see presentation of M. Shapiro, General Counsel, International Intellectual Property Institute, First WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 1999) .

[555] Art Web, a consortium of the Bridgeman Art Library, La Réunion des musées nationaux, and Bildarchiv Preussicher Kulturbesitz, offers a consolidated point of access for these three European image archives.  The Corbis Corporation, a subsidiary of Microsoft, has entered into non-exclusive licensing arrangements with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, the National Gallery in London and the Hermitage museum in Russia.

[556] The AMICO Library of works of art includes over 13,000 paintings, 5,900 sculptures, 23,800 prints, 13,700 drawings and watercolours, 29,000 photographs, 1,800 textiles, 1,600 costumes and jewelry, 9,800 works of decorative art and 1,200 books and manuscripts. Spanning the ages, the collection contains over 2,500 works dated B.C., as well as 53,000 works dated from 1901 to the present.  Some 55% of the collection is sourced from the Americas, 32% from Europe, 7% from Asia, and 5% from Africa.  See

[557] The Museums and the Online Archive of California Project is at It is reported that less than 7% of museum collections in the United States of America are exhibited at any time;  see Kendra Mayfield, "Bringing Mountain of Art to World," Wired News, (October 29, 2002), at

[558] The website of the Hermitage Museum digital collection, created jointly with IBM, may be found at  See presentation of M. Borisovitch Piotrovski, Director, State Hermitage Museum, First WIPO E-Commerce Conference (September 1999) .

[559] See background on WIPO's work in the field of intellectual property and traditional knowledge, genetic resources and folklore, available at

[560] WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, Second Session, Geneva (December 10 to 14, 2001), "Progress Report on the Status of Traditional Knowledge as Prior Art," (Document WIPO/GRTKF/IC/2/6), at p.3 (July 1, 2001);  available at

[561] Dr. R. A. Mashelkar, "The Role of Intellectual Property in Building Capacity for Innovation for Development," WIPO Panel Discussion at the ECOSOC High-Level Segment on the Role of Information Technology in a Knowledge-Based Economy, United Nations, New York, at p.9 (May 24, 2000).

[562] See WIPO/GRTKF/IC/2/6 at paras.89-97.

[563] See the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of India, at

[564] See the WIPO Traditional Knowledge Portal of Online Databases at

[565] See WIPO/GRTKF/IC/2/6 at paras.114 -118.

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