International Research Organizations Call on WTO to Suspend IP Rules to Help Prevent, Contain & Treat COVID-19

March 22, 2021 | 9:00am EST | 1:00pm UCT


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Over 200 organizations and prominent researchers and experts, representing millions of researchers, libraries, and support organizations publicly release a joint call for reduction of copyright barriers to COVID-19 prevention, containment and treatment.

For the first time, research organizations around the world are calling on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to suspend its rules on intellectual property, including copyright, to support the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19. Access to copyrighted works is critical for COVID-19 prevention, containment and treatment. Many countries’ copyright laws do not allow researchers to access libraries or other materials remotely or to use advanced research methodologies (like text and data mining) to find and develop treatments to COVID-19.

Supporters of the statement will be available to answer questions from the press on Monday, March 22 at 9am EDT (1pm UTC). Confirmed attendees at the press availability include:

  • Sean Flynn, Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (moderator)

  • Mustaqeem De Gama, Counsellor at the South African Mission in Geneva 

  • Stephen Wyber, Manager, Policy and Advocacy, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

  • Carolina Botero, Karisma Foundation, Colombia

  • Dick Kawooya, Associate Professor, University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science, Public Advocacy Lead, EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries)

  • Anubha Sinha, Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), India

For further background, contact Prof. Sean Flynn at sflynn [at]