A commission of artists, scientists, lawyers, politicians, academics and business experts has developed a new set of guiding principles for copyright and patent rules that they claim would serve as a fairer and more efficient basis for protecting intellectual property and spurring innovation in the 21st Century. The principles, officially launched on 13 October at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce in London, are now referred to as the Adelphi Charter.

The Charter seeks to remind policymakers that the original purpose of intellectual property (IP) law was to "...ensure both the sharing of knowledge and the rewarding of innovation..." The Charter emphasises the importance of striking an appropriate balance between private rights and the public interest, challenging those who design IP laws to step back from the presumption that the expansion of IP protection is naturally a positive thing. Citing the general absence of conclusive proof that stronger IP protection is correlated with increased innovation, commission member James Boyle recently described IP policy as an "evidence-free zone," writing in the Guardian that "policy should be evidence-based."

The Adelphi Charter will now be presented to IP negotiators at permanent missions in Geneva.

"Protecting the public domain," THE GUARDIAN, 14 October 2005; "Free ideas," THE ECONOMIST, 13 October 2005; "IP Charter With 'Public Interest Checklist' For Governments Launched," INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY WATCH, 19 October 2005.