Direct Action around WSIS
  WIPO is looking for Mermaid
  11 December 2003. On Thursday evening, activists involved in the alternative events WSIS? We Seize! put up a projector in front of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and screened the short film "Give me the Mermaid" - a film criticising the intellectual property regime - on the outside walls of the building. An "official" invitation for the event had been distributed inside the Palexpo building, and a number of civil society and media representatives followed the invitation...

"Give me the mermaid" is a Disney cartoon spoof featuring quotes from cultural industries officials and other intellectual property defenders, and questioning the regime of intellectual property rights. Rather than inspiring creativity, as the industry claims, activists maintain that intellectual property rights are a means of control of knowledge in the hands of a few powerful business actors. At the World Forum on Communication Rights which had taken place in Palexpo earlier that day, speakers had denounced the increasingly excessive use of intellectual property rights as an income protection mechanism, reserving knowledge for the elite and preventing public knowledge from reaching the legitimate public domain.

Earlier, other activists had breached the summit's supposedly tight deadlines by creating a fake plastic identy card, using an assumed identity. While the ever-present security personnel could not prevent this "hack" into their system, they were on high alert for any more obvious "trouble". Independent journalists filming the Microsoft stand and enquiring about the company's links with UN organisations were quickly told to leave the space by large numbers of security guards.

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On the Way Towards the Charter