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WIPO in Geneva (2004-09-10 to 2004-09-19)

by Richard Stallman Contributions Published on Jul 12, 2010 02:48 PM
This morning I arrived in Geneva for a meeting of consumer groups on how to deal with the problems caused by WIPO(an organization whose aim is to impose increased "intellectual property rights" on the public).

One of my aims at the meeting is to explain why the term "intellectual property rights" frames the issue in a way that is harmful to the public, and should be rejected entirely.

I have to stay in a hotel this time--something I generally try to avoid, one reason being that hotels in Europe and many other countries participate in a system of surveillance, demanding to see your passport and record information. I wrote "submitted under protest" on the form. The hotel reception agent said, "I'm not the one asking for this; the police insist", and I responded, "Does that make it any better?"

The hotel is supposed to have an internet facility, but it has been broken all day. The air conditioning was also not working, and by noon I called reception to report the problem. The agent came up and said, "The air conditioning system here is not very powerful--just wait another hour and the room will get cooler." I went back to work, then took a nap, and when I awoke at 3:30 it was clear the room was, if anything, warmer than before. I complained, and they admitted the system really was malfunctioning. They said that the company that was supposed to repair it was not answering the phone, and they put me in another room which was indeed somewhat cooler.

I turned on the air conditioning, which had been off while the room was unoccupied, and half an hour later I became aware that this room too was getting hotter. The air conditioning system was just heating instead! When I complained again, they admitted the air conditioning system had a central problem. All I could do immediately was turn the ventilation off and hope the room would cool a little.

I cannot sleep when I feel hot unless I am totally exhausted, so I began thinking about leaving; I said I wanted to stay in one of the company's other hotels instead, presuming that not all would have such problems, but they said I could not. I was making plans for how to go about leaving anyway, when the ventilator suddenly seemed to start spontaneously to blow some cool air. I thought it was working--though now I am not sure--turning it up to maximum strength has not increased the cooling. I have the feeling that the staff have been manipulative, and less than truthful, at every stage of this. The hotel is part of the Manotel group, in case you're looking for hotels in Geneva not to stay in.

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