No COVID-19 in Our Name
COVID-19 vaccine, treatment and testing availability are a defining human rights crisis of this century. Artists and creators are penning an open letter to call for the sharing of life saving medical technology.
To all associations and individuals who oppose sharing life-saving pandemic technology:
You do not represent us.
Access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatment, and testing are a defining human rights crisis of this century. We applaud global leaders who are speaking up to save lives. As Senator Bernie Sanders said, countless lives must come before pharmaceutical company profits.
Thanks to the hard work of a global campaign, and despite pressure from big pharma, the US entered negotiations to share life saving technologies in May. We are appalled that major film, publishing, and music associations tried to stop this from happening. These groups discouraged the US from sharing life saving treatment with countries in need, using false arguments based on copyright laws for our creative works. We fear that these groups will continue to lobby in our names to hinder this urgent process upon which many of our livelihoods depend.
We are joining the following groups that support quick action on a World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver that allows sharing of COVID-19 related health technologies: a coalition of over 100 countries; the majority of House Democrats; frontline labor unions like National Nurses United, the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, and the American Federation of Teachers; and hundreds of internationally recognized organizations like Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the ACLU.
Everyone must receive access as soon as possible to the knowledge and tools that will save lives from COVID-19: from vaccines and ventilators to medical technology, designs, and knowledge. Without an emergency waiver at the WTO of the intellectual property rights that block sharing these resources, many countries may not receive meaningful access to COVID-19 vaccines until as late as 2024—if at all. This is unacceptable. We need to immediately share knowledge and technology before devastating new variants kill even more people.
Sharing life saving technology will not harm musicians, actors, writers, or other creative professionals. In fact, it will save many of us who live in countries throughout the world, while also allowing us to once again travel, perform, and share our creative work with the world. It is absurd that some of the associations that claim to represent creators’ interests are instead fighting for big pharma. To be clear, the proposed waiver text will not harm creators. The waiver never targeted creators, and the latest draft has further clarified that it is only for health products and technologies. The proposal will waive intellectual property protections only for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19. The waiver does not impact creative works such as music, films, and books in any way. We fully support waivers on all four provisions of intellectual property that will help end the pandemic, because each provision is essential to stop COVID-19. Waiving patent rights alone cannot save lives if the design and knowledge to use them is not shared too.
In solidarity with billions of people around the world, we demand that representatives from artist and creator associations immediately stop any lobbying efforts to weaken, delay or disrupt the COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver at the WTO.
The UndersignedSign the Letter