Letters and Comment

July 2007

WIPO Magazine welcomes comments on issues raised in our articles or on other intellectual property topics. This page offers a forum for the exchange of views. Publication of readers' comments does not imply endorsement by WIPO of the views expressed.

Letters should be marked “for publication in the WIPO Magazine” and addressed to The Editor at WipoMagazine@wipo.int or to the postal/fax address on the back cover of the Magazine. Please include your postal address. We regret that it is not possible to publish all the letters we receive. The editor reserves the right to edit or shorten letters. (The author will be consulted if substantial editing is required.) 


Don’t knock Nollywood

The write-up on The Nollywood Phenomenon (Issue no. 3/2007) just scratches at what is going on in the film and video industry in Nigeria. It is a revolution, and a burgeoning industry in terms of the creativity, employment creation, economic empowerment, recreation, education, and even healing, that it provides to the people of Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. It is true that generally Nollywood operates on low budgets, but why use the word “ultra-low”? It is not bad given all the creativity and innovation employed in their work. The writer also did not expand on the fact that these films are now commanding attention across the globe from Africans in the Diaspora and even non-Africans.

It is also imperative to note that the world outside Africa talks and talks about piracy, but does little to fight the evil. Many countries in Africa are yet to realize the need to join forces with Nigeria's anti-piracy agencies, with the industry in Nigeria, and with other African film-producing countries, to fight the pandemic called piracy. 

With the talents and resources that abound in Nollywood, it is only good that every necessary step be taken by government agencies, by world bodies like WIPO and WTO, and by powerful nations like the U.S.A, Britain and Germany, to assist Nollywood so that these talented human beings will begin to reap the rewards of their efforts in the way that their counterparts in Europe and America are able to.

From Edwin Nnametu, Editor, National Image Magazine, Nigeria

Singapore targets its download generation

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) read with great interest your article Talking to the Download Generation (Issue no. 2/2007). Understanding young people’s perceptions about downloading is a critical step towards tackling online piracy. Only then can we design effective outreach campaigns and relevant educational programmes to promote greater respect towards IP rights online. 

For this reason, IPOS recently commissioned a survey to investigate attitudes of Singaporeans aged 14-35 towards IP and IP rights protection. The students in your article, while well informed about copyright law, viewed downloading as a non-crime with no consequences. Similarly, our survey revealed that while 33 percent of the respondents thought about the consequences of buying pirated or counterfeit products, and eight out of 10 young Singaporeans are conscious of the importance of IP rights, the great majority do not feel bothered or guilty about committing IP infringement. This is a strong cause for concern given that many young Singaporeans said that they commonly download music, television series, movies and games. Coupled with the fact that more than half the respondents believed that Internet usage should be free and that Internet content is in the public domain, there is a pressing need to make IP protection more relevant to young people by promoting greater understanding of the negative consequences for themselves and for the original creators.

On World IP Day 2007, we launched a new advertising campaign under our HIP (Honour Intellectual Property) Alliance branding, which aims to reach out to Singaporeans aged between 14 and 35 via broadcast, print and outdoor media, as well as popular websites. Online media were added to a mainstream media mix as they directly reach the target community. The objective is to bring home the message that young people expose themselves to very real risks when engaging in online piracy. These risks include legal ramifications for unauthorised use, exploitation of their personal data by unauthorised sources, inadvertent download of computer viruses, as well as diminishing the pool of creative content in the future.

Further research into young people’s attitudes will help IPOS to tailor our awareness and educational programmes to ensure they are contemporary and relevant for young audiences. We look forward to sharing insights with other organisations globally, so that together we can work towards combating online piracy.

From Liew Woon Yin, Director-General, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.

WIPO website opens new avenues

 I come from Bathinda, a small town in India. I first became interested in IP during my law course in 1997, but as there were no teachers or resources available, the law school advised us to pursue other options. My interest in the subject lingered on, until eight years later an opportunity came through the WIPO website and in 2005 I enrolled for the WIPO Academy Distance Learning (DL-101) course.

I downloaded the course material in one go because of cost and connectivity. During the month and a half which I dedicated to the course, I thoroughly studied not only the course material, but also the suggested readings and some aspects of Indian law. I passed with 98 percent. Due to lack of resources and family pressures I could not continue my formal education, but I kept updated by studying the resources available in the WIPO website and newsletters.

I included my DL 101 certificate in my CV, which I posted on one of the jobs websites. Unexpectedly, I was called soon afterwards by an engineering company in Chandigarh, seeking to secure its IP rights. At first the employer was skeptical that anyone from such a small town could have adequate knowledge of IP. But after being interview by an IP expert from the pharma sector, I was selected. I started working full-time for the company from February 2006. 

Within the company I encountered negligible awareness of IP. But using the resources from the WIPO website, especially from the WIPO SME site, I have been able to explain and implement many things. We have documented the company’s innovations, and made two PCT applications using the guidance on the PCT website and the PCT-SAFE software. We registered one industrial design, and also have a trademark registration pending. We handle everything in-house, from prior art search to filing and prosecution, so saving considerable costs for a small enterprise. We introduced engineering log-books and confidentiality agreements. I have inspired many colleagues in different departments – including marketing, advertising, mechanical and chemical engineering – to enroll for the DL 101 course.

The past year has been one of fulfillment both for my employer and my family, and I thank WIPO in general, and the WIPO Academy in particular, for this achievement. My employer’s satisfaction was demonstrated when he sponsored me for the WIPO Executive Program in Goa, India, in March. The program has provided me with new insights, and has chalked out a path for us to follow in the coming years. 

From Sarjinder Singh Seth, Spray Engineering Devices Limited, Haryana, India


Three cheers for our four-footed friends

I much enjoyed your article Hounding Out Piracy (Issue no. 3/2007) and the way it was presented. Hats off to the protagonists. 

If a dog is a man's best friend, we can see here that it also the Law's best friend.

I hope that more dogs will soon be trained for these and other tasks. No muerden y no acceptan mordidas (they don't bite and they can't be “bitten” by bribery).

From Baudelio Hernández, Baudelio Hernández y Asociados (Attorneys at Law), Mexico.

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