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Taxonomies of Intellectual Property

A List of Quasi Things

A workshop about the development of a mapping tool for a list of quasi things. Kobe Matthys of Agency invites Peggy Pierrot and Philippe Rivière.

Saturday, December 8, 2007, 3 pm - 8 pm: Workshop
Saturday, December 8, 2007, 9 pm - late: Bar
Sunday, December 9, 2007, 3 pm - 8 pm: Workshop

Wiederaufbau für Kreditanstalt
Mauerstraße 68, Ecke Leipziger
U2 Mohrenstraße, U6 Stadtmitte

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an agency which was founded by the United Nations in 1974. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. WIPO's principal tasks is to develop an international intellectual property classification system. It cooperates with the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the implementation of the TRIPS (Trade related aspects of intellectual property) of the GATT agreement of 1994. TRIPS imposes intellectual property law worldwide. The main characteristics of this agreement on intellectual property is that it is based on private rights, it demands from intellectual property to generate profits and its system is developed for the international trade of transnational corporations. The standard of WIPO's international intellectual property system means a threat to the diversity of practices.

Agency is an agency which was founded by Kobe Matthys in 1992. Its post box is in Brussels, Belgium. Agency constitutes a list of quasi things. Quasi-things fall just inside or outside a category, they move from one category to another or they don't belong to any category at all. Quasi things witness hesitation in terms of classification. The list of quasi things includes a diversity of examples of things that are excluded from the current international intellectual property classification system. For the purpose of evaluating intellectual property, the law employs the division between categories such as nature and culture, evolution and creation, object and subject, collective versus individual... Many things are difficult to classify as such. For example specimen 809 in the list is related to a performance called "Sawing a lady in half" by the illusionist Horace Goldin. Horace Goldin tried to use intellectual property law (copyright, patent law, and trade secret law) as a way to protect the secrets of this illusion. But intellectual property law fails to protect the practice of magic.

This workshop will deal with questions of classification systems and taxonomies of intellectual property, as well as discuss, in the context of other archive projects, the development of a website for agency's list of quasi things. At this moment, the website is under construction at the URL: The programming of this website in collaboration with Peggy Pierrot started from the alteration of the content management system called SPIP. SPIP is a publishing system for the internet distributed under the General Public License (GPL) and developed by e-zine uZine2. It is based on a MySql database. We will discuss various questions which occur during the process of transforming this online database tool into a topological mapping tool.

Peggy Pierrot makes websites and radio programs, does independent journalism and organizes parties.

Philippe Rivière programs SPIP content management system, edits and develops the website of the journal Le Monde Diplomatique.

The Oil of the 21st Century

The Oil of the 21st Century is a project by Bootlab, based on a concept by Partner gegen Berlin, produced in cooperation with Sarai, The Thing and Waag Society, and funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
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