The recent controversy regarding a Development Agenda at WIPO is misguided in some respects, as many aspects of the Development Agenda seek to protect the developing world from intellectual property. This point of view has things exactly backward. Private rights are a vehicle for securing economic independence, not a mechanism for oppression.

The people of the developing world need to be empowered, not protected. They are just as innovative, creative, and hard working as any other people. All too often, however, they are prevented from using their hard work and creativity to improve their lives. If only the people of the developing world were allowed the freedom and security they need to control their own lives and make their own decisions, then they could build a bright future for themselves, for their families, and their countries.