The 24th WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) met from 16-25 July 2012. Issues included exceptions for educational and research institutions, libraries and archives, visually impaired persons and emerging legal instruments on broadcasters’ rights. In its general statement (available here), IFRRO submitted that overbroad exceptions that conflict with normal exploitations of the works or broadening exceptions without providing remuneration to authors and publishers, would act as a disincentive to and have a negative impact on the continued creation and commissioning of works for the educational market. Both developed and developing societies would suffer from it. Access to copyright material through agreements with rightholders and RROs is what best meets the needs of educational institutions to legally access high quality teaching material in constantly changing environments. RROs also began their activities in response to requests from educational institutions for the licensing of large scale copying of copyright works for teaching and research purposes, and educational institutions continue as the main beneficiaries of their services. The statement also made reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which gives everyone “the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”.
Education and research
The debate on copyright and education included proposals for a Treaty, put forward by delegations from African and Latin American countries. The further work has grouped the content of the discussions in three parts: language for an international instrument on educational uses of copyright works; sharing of national experiences; and “other issues”. IFRRO’s statements on education are available here (SCCR_July12_Statement17July and SCCR_July12_Statement19July). Inter alia, IFRRO emphasised that, more than copyright and exceptions and limitations issue, appropriate access to adequate teaching material is a question of building apposite infrastructures and sustaining the development of good teaching material. Material founded in local culture and traditions must be available to appropriately adapt to local and special user needs.
Libraries and archives
The SCCR elevated the status of the collection of library issues drafted at the last meeting, SCCR/23/8 PROV (available here), to a “working document”. As it stands, its 11 topics are now part of a larger work plan. A recommendation is scheduled to be made to the General Assemblies on these topics by the 28th WIPO SCCR (early 2014). In the statement on libraries and archives, IFRRO highlighted the results already reached through voluntary stakeholder initiatives, including licensing arrangements, and the importance for rightholders to receive remuneration, for instance in the case of library lending.
Visually impaired persons
With respect to the visually impaired, WIPO Member States agreed to hold an inter-sessional meeting after the WIPO General Assembly (1-9 October 2012) and before the next SCCR (19-23 November 2012). In December, an extraordinary General Assembly will be held to decide whether the visually impaired issue is ready to move to a Diplomatic Conference in 2013. It was not agreed whether the outcome of the visually impaired negotiations is intended to be a treaty, a recommendations or a declaration. IFRRO made a statement on a possible instrument for the visually impaired (available here), reiterating the key elements to be observed: (i) the text should clearly link the instrument to the Berne Convention; (ii) works to be made available under an exception in national legislation should apply only to works not made accessible by publishers or authors or their representatives; (iii) cross-border transfer of files, in addition to being made subject to some form of approval mechanism by rightholders or their representatives, must be limited to works lawfully published domestically; (iv) authorised entities should follow rules and procedures appropriate to any organisation engaged in the licensing of international exchange of copyright works, to ensure accountability.
On broadcasting, work will proceed on a single text with the aim of deciding on a Diplomatic Conference in 2014.
WIPO SCCR documents
The conclusions document, which shows the timelines of the different topics over the next biennium, is available here. For all meeting documents of the 24th WIPO SCCR, see here. On 26 July 2012, EU Commissioner Michel Barnier published a statement on the 24th WIPO SCCR, available here.
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