Counting Ten for Trips: Author Rights and Access to Information - a Cockroach's View of Encroachment

52 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2005

See all articles by Denis Borges Barbosa

Denis Borges Barbosa

Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro

Date Written: November 4, 2005


From the point of view contemporaneous to the first negotiation rounds of TRIPs, the aim of all exercise was to eliminate national diversity in the IP field. Diversity here is essentially the power to set the pace of IPR impact in each specific economy and culture. Ten years from the inception of TRIPs as a legal instrument, such fear was not dispelled. Much to the contrary, TRIPs seems to be an old-fashioned and well-meant instrument, allowing a balanced perspective upon IP mechanisms applicable to developed and developing countries alike.

The problem is much worse as the anti-diversity exercise did not stop ten years ago. The fact that in some limited areas, especially in the public health sector, TRIPs has actually been used to achieve balance and poise do not change the overall issue. The unilateral thrust which TRIPS was meant to end just increased. It is reasonable to guess whether, in absence of TRIPs, the situation would be the same.

A very important aspect of this post-TRIPs era, by the way, is the denial of the multilateral promise. We were assured that unilateralism was over. All of us were members of the club, after paying the steep entrance fee. It was not so. Members or non-members, the bullying continued and grew. Fact is, however, that the world contemporaneous to the Uruguay Round discussions has severally changed. It was changing fast during the negotiations, and TRIPs when came to force was a gift from a former Christmas. And such changes were particularly felt within the scope of this study.

Intellectual Property probably caused the Information Society, and is not coping with it. The plethora of legal means invented to prevent copy in such Society is only comparable to the profusion of technical means to make for the insufficiency of legal means, and the ingenuity of legal means to assure that the technical means would work as intended. In the last years, copyright appeared to be a frenzied dog chasing its own tail.

In this context, the ideas of open access to the wealth of information, as expressed in the proposed A2K treaty, is not a marginal or negligible aspect of Intellectual Property Law. It is an official aspect of Brazilian IP policy at this moment. It is a clear sign that we need a increased supply of Intellectual Property rights.

Only that now, they must be inclusive rights.

Keywords: Intellectual Property, WTO, TRIPs, Copyrigght, Acess to Information, Latin America, Brazil

JEL Classification: O34, O54

Suggested Citation

Borges Barbosa, Denis, Counting Ten for Trips: Author Rights and Access to Information - a Cockroach's View of Encroachment (November 4, 2005). Available at SSRN: or

Denis Borges Barbosa (Contact Author)

Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro ( email )

Rua do Ouvidor 121/6
Rio de Janeiro RJ 20040-001, 20040=030
+552139707704 (Phone)
+552122639617 (Fax)


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