Murphy's Law: Above The Law At The UN

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September 20, 2012: Earlier this year someone in the UN tipped off the media that the UN WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) had recently sent modern computers, database, and security software to Iran and North Korea. This was part of a WIPO effort to help technologically backward countries create modern software for tracking patents and trademarks, so they can better adhere to Intellectual Property (patents and copyrights) laws.

There was a problem with what WIPO did in Iran and North Korea, and that was that they sent hardware and software that UN embargoes forbade these two countries from having. WIPO responded by saying they thought they were exempt from the UN sanctions because they were doing good works (helping Iran and North Korea to better observe IP laws). When it was pointed out that there is no UN regulation that gives WIPO such an exemption and that Iran and North Korea are notorious IP thieves that have shown no sign of changing their bandit ways since they received the WIPO gear, WIPO fell silent on the issue. Other UN officials suggested that WIPO be left alone and not harassed for an honest mistake. Besides, some UN staffers pointed out, Iran and North Korea are able to smuggle in gear and software similar to what WIPO handed out.

 

 


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