2013 GC-OA logoTo date, 200 people from around the world have signed the Third Global Congress Global Congress Declaration on Fundamental Public Interest Principles for International Intellectual Property Negotiations.

The Declaration, drafted at the recent Global Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, calls for “a positive agenda in international intellectual property law making” which would include a more open negotiating process, respect for stakeholders’ social and economic welfare, and preserve states’ freedoms to protect access to knowledge goods.  The full declaration and the initial signatures are below.

The document will remain open for institutional and individual signatures through the holidays. To sign, please fill out this very short form. The final version will be formally released next month. 

Global Congress Declaration on Fundamental Public Interest Principles for International Intellectual Property Negotiations

Adopted at the Third Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
University of Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa
December 13, 2013

Taking into consideration:

  • The principles for promoting a positive agenda for intellectual property law and policy enunciated in the Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest.

  • The Max Planck Principles for Intellectual Property Provisions in Bilateral and Regional Agreements.

  • The means for promoting the protection and growth of the public domain presented in the Public Domain Manifesto and the Europeana Public Domain Charter.

  • The state of research showing that all countries, and particularly developing countries, need meaningful flexibility in their intellectual property regimes.

  • The increasing and unprecedented trend toward the inclusion of IP provisions in trade and other agreements that, unlike traditional multilateral intellectual property instruments, are negotiated under highly secretive processes.

  • The basic tenet that law-making in democratic societies — including in the international realm — should occur only through procedures that are public, inclusive, transparent and accountable so that law can best reflect the values and the consent of the governed.

  • The contemporary reality of rapid technological, social, economic, and cultural change.

  • The leaked drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement’s chapter on intellectual property rights.

We, the undersigned scholars, researchers, and policy advocates, endorse the following statement drafted and adopted at the Third Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, Cape Town, South Africa, December 13, 2013:

We call on countries negotiating the TPP, and those of other current and future agreements, to promote a positive agenda in international intellectual property law making, including to:

  • facilitate ongoing release of proposed legal provisions for public comment and maximize the ability of all interested persons and organizations to observe and participate in negotiation processes;

  • ensure that intellectual property rights are established and implemented in a manner that promotes social and economic welfare; respects the rights of students, teachers, doctors, patients, consumers, artists, and other members of the broader community; and facilitates the development of the public domain for the full enjoyment of all human rights;

  • fully incorporate and respect the provisions of all multilateral intellectual property instruments that provide flexibility to countries to tailor the scope and duration of intellectual property rights, define limitations and exceptions to rights, and that recognize the necessity of regulation to serve human values;

  • preserve the flexibility of sovereign States to modify and adjust the provisions of their intellectual property laws in response to new circumstances and technological, social, economic, and cultural change, in particular by

    • protecting the flexibility of States to define exceptions to anti-circumvention liability and the processes by which they are formulated, and

    • avoiding the imposition of a one-size-fits-all system of Internet Service Provider liability and related exceptions;

  • fully support each State’s right to protect public health and promote access to medicines, including by permitting all countries to fully avail themselves of all TRIPS Agreement provisions which provide flexibility to define the scope of and limitations to intellectual property and data protections;

  • defend the freedom of countries to choose to implement international or regional exhaustion of intellectual property rights to facilitate parallel importation;

  • ensure that intellectual property enforcement measures are reasonable and proportional to the infringement they target, including by avoiding “deterrent level” civil damages and inappropriate expansion of criminal and secondary liability;

  • ensure that countries retain the rights to make independent decisions about the prioritization of law enforcement resources to promote public interests;

  • enable States to prohibit internet service providers from monitoring or controlling the communications of their users based on the content of these communications;

  • avoid the creation of new dispute resolution fora parallel to, and that may conflict with, the multilateral system;

  • ensure that intellectual property agreements are consistent with international law, including international human rights law and the Convention on Biological Diversity;

We conclude that any international instruments that do not meet these basic principles are not in the public interest and should be rejected.

We record our serious concerns about the closed and secretive processes being used for current international negotiations while acknowledging the efforts of some countries to promote positive proposals within them.


Sunil Abraham
The Centre for Internet and Society


Prudence Adler
Association of Research Libraries

Riyadh Al-Balushi
Ministry of Legal Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman

Pamela Andanda
University of the Witwatersrand

Pablo Francisco Gomez
Arrieta    RedPaTo2

Katy Athersuch
MSF Access Campaign, Geneva

Renata Avila
IP & Human Rights Lawyer, Guatemala

Renata Avila Pinto
Creative Commons Guatemala

Brook Baker
Northeastern U. School of Law

David Justin Bakibinga
Makerere University

Thiru Balasubramaniam

Wilbert    Bannenberg

swaraj Barooah

Ben Bartlett

Fran Baum
Southgate Institute for Health, Society & Equity, Flinders University

Markus Beckedahl

Wondwossen Belete
Society for Technology Studies / Open A.I.R.

John Bergmayer
Public Knowledge

Zecharias Berhe Fassil

Kajal Bhardwaj
Independent Lawyer

Alexandre Boivin

Enrico Bonadio
City University London

Carolina Botero
Fundación Karisma

Ellen Broad
International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions

Dorothy Broom
Australian National University

Beatriz Busaniche

Brandon Butler
American University Washington College of Law

Michael Carrier
Rutgers Law School

Michael Carroll
American University Washington College of Law

Cathy Casserly
Creative Commons

Alberto Cerda
University of Chile Law School

catherine Chamberlain
Monash University

Nehaa Chaudhari
The Centre for Internet and Society

Helen Chuma-Okoro
Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies / Open A.I.R.

Jason Cross
Duke University

Teshager Dagne
TRU Faculty of Law / Open A.I.R.

Carolyn Dalton
Policy Australia Pty Ltd

Angela Daly
Swinburne Institute for Social Research/European University Institute

Fernanda de Souza

Abdullah Denovan

Estelle Derclaye
University of Nottingham

Joelle Dountio Ofimboudem
University of Pretoria

Patrick Durisch    Berne

Nagham el Houssamy
Access to Knowledge for Development, AUC / Open A.I.R.

Richard Elliott
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Ezieddin Elmahjub
Queensland University of Technology

Hala Essalmawi
Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Thomas Faunce
Australian National University

Saoirse FitzPatrick
Student Stop AIDS Campaign

Matthew Flynn
Georgia Southern University

Sean Flynn
American University

Pedro Augusto Francisco
Center for Technology and Society – FGV

Michael Geist
University of Ottawa

Bill Genat
Victoria University

Rebecca Giblin
Monash University/Aust Digital Alliance

Douglas Gichuki
CIPIT centre for IP and IT Law / Open A.I.R.

Deborah Gleeson
La Trobe University

Volker Grassmuck
Centre for Digital Cultures, Leuphana University Lueneburg

Cable Green
Creative Commons

Andres Guadamuz
University of Sussex

Lucie Guibault
University of Amsterdam

Monica Guise Rosina
FGV Law School in São Paulo – Direito GV

Luisa Fernanda Guzmán Mejía
Fundación Karisma

Blayne Haggart
Brock University

Elbialy Hatab
Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency

Patricia Hepworth
Australian Digital Alliance

Julia Hill
MSF Access Campaign

Cynthia Ho
Loyola University of Chicago School of Law

Germán Holguín
Misión Salud Veeduría Ciudadana

Monica Horten
London School of Economics and Political Science

Yuan Qiong Hu
SOAS, China A2M Research Group

P. Bernt Hugenholtz
Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

Susan Isiko-Strba
University of Minnesota

Andres Izquierdo
Labcom – Instituto Pensar, Universidad Javeriana, Colombia

Peter Jaszi
Washington College of Law

Jorge Jimenez Barillas
CC Guatemala, CongresoTransparente.org

Erik Josefsson
Greens/EFA Group

Francis Kaswahili Kaguna
East african Creative Rights company

Koichi  Kameda
UAEM Brazil / UERJ

Emmanuel Kamonyo

Melba Katindi Katsivo

Matthew Kavanagh
niv. of Pennsylvania & Health GAP

Dick Kawooya
University of South Carolina

Paul Faustin Kihwelo
CC Tanzania

Burcu Kilic
Public Citizen

Thomas King
University of Cape Town

Michael Knapek

Gaelle Krikorian
IRIS, Paris

Primah Kwagala
Center for Health, Human Rights & Development (CEHURD)

Mary LaFrance
William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

David Legge
La Trobe University, Melbourne

Kalyton Lucas Alves Lemes

David Levine
Elon University School of Law

Joel Lexchin
York University

Ramon Lobato
Swinburne University of Technology

Hans Lofgren
Deakin University

Peter Lor
University of Pretoria

James Love

Edward Low
Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)

Jeremy Malcolm
Consumers International

Anthony Mao Fu Jen
Catholic University

Antonio Martínez
ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America

Peter Maybarduk
Public Citizen

Diarmaid McDonald

Bernard Meijfroidt

Hiram Meléndez-Juarbe
University of Puerto Rico Law School

Diane Mercier
Diane Mercier, Ph.D.

Ikechi Mgbeoji
York University

Gabriel Michael
The George Washington University

John Mitchell
Interaction Law

Pedro Mizukami

Brendan Molloy
Pirate Party Australia

Oreetseng Moncho

Miguel Morachimo

Cailin     Morrison
School of Law, University of Wolverhampton

Mammo Muchie
Twsane University of Technology


Heesob Nam

Ira Nathenson
St. Thomas University School of Law

Caroline B Ncube
University of Cape Town / Open A.I.R.

William New
Intellectual Property Watch

Adriana Nilsson
Copenhagen Business School

Byoungil Oh
Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet

Paul Ogendi Omondi
AIDS Law Project

Troels Eske Ortvad

Soohyun    Pae
Creative Commons

Michael Palmedo
PIJIP, American University

Pedro Paranaguá
FGV School of Law

Jane Park
Creative Commons

Pieter-Jan Pauwels
OKFN Belgium

Sara Helena Pereira e Silva

Diane Peters
Creative Commons

Fabricio Polido
Federal University of Minas Gerais – UFMG

Rufus Pollock
Open Knowledge Foundation

Pranesh    Prakash
Centre for Internet and Society

Srividhya Ragavan
University of Oklahoma College of Law

Reshma Ramachandran
American Medical Student Association

Lisa Ramsey
University of San Diego School of Law

Jhessica Reia

Andrea Carolina    Reyes Rojas
Alianza LAC – Global por el Acceso a Medicamentos

Graham Reynolds
Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia

Dr Sean Rintel
Electronic Frontiers Australia

Allan Rocha De Souza

Carolina Rosini

Joan Rovira
University of Barcelona

Umunyana Rugege

Claudio Ruiz
ONG Derechos Digitales

Britta Rutert
Free University of Berlin/ Natural Justice

Lotti Rutter
Treatment Action Campaign

Pilar Saenz
Fundacion Karisma

Peter Sainsbury

Pamela Samuelson
Berkeley Law School

Leon Sanchez Ambia
UNAM Law School

Rosalie Schultz

Leonie Segal
University of South Australia

Susan Sell
Professor of Political Science and Inter-national Affairs, The George Washington University

Martin Senftleben
VU University Amsterdam

Adigun Sheriff
Sherrad Global Investment Ltd.

Jessica Silbey
Suffolk University Law School

Peter Suber
Harvard University

Maira Sutton

Nicolas Suzor
Queensland University of Technology

Ann Taket
Deakin University

Alek Tarkowski
Centrum Cyfrowe Projekt: Polska

Carole Theuri
University of Stellenbosch

Aminou TITA

Amalia Toledo Hernández
Fundación Karisma

Samuel Trosow
University of Western Ontario

Natasha Tusikov
Australian National University

Dr. Hafiz Aziz ur Rehman
IIUI, Islamabad, Pakistan

Jennifer Urban
University of California – Berkeley School of Law

Mariana Valente

Stef van Gompel
Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam

Wim Vandevelde

Yousuf     Vawda
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Timothy Vollmer
Creative Commons

Kat Walsh
Creative Commons

Ante Wessels
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure

Darius Whelan
University College Cork

Kelsey Wiens
University of Cape Town

Owain Williams
Aberystwyth University

Jane Winn
University of Washington School of Law

Hong Xue
Beijing Normal University Institute for Internet Policy & Law

Peter Yu
Drake University Law School

Zhenyan Zhu
Third World Network

Nicolo Zingales
Tilburg University Law School

La Quadrature du Net