[A2k] SCCR 21: Initial impressions from day 1
thiru at keionline.org
Mon Nov 8 09:13:31 PST 2010
SCCR 21: Initial impressions from day 1
Created 8 Nov 2010 - 7:39am
The 21st session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and
Related Rights (SCCR) commenced its work at 10:33 AM on 8 Monday 2010.
This unusually quick start is perhaps indicative of Member States'
commitment to examine the three substantive agenda items up for
consideration during this five day negotiation; these three issues
include: 1) protection of broadcasting organizations, 2) protection of
audiovisual performances and 3) limitations and exceptions.
As a welcome step in transparency, in contrast to a prominent
intergovernmental organization based in Geneva overlooking the lake
with competence in international trade, WIPO is providing closed
captioning available at the following link: http://streamtext.net/text.aspx?event=WIPO
. The electronic key to access this service is: wipo4me. This
close captioning provided much of the source material for this blog.
Here are some highlights from the morning session. Assistant Director
General Trevor Clarke opened the deliberations by exhorting Member
States to "advance the work of the SCCR" and to "compromise on the
language that is persistently causing these difficulties in reaching
conclusions" on future work relating to limitations and exceptions,
the protection of audiovisual performances and the protection of
broadcasting organizations. The Chair (Jukka Liedes, Finland) urged
members to adopt a 'spirit of compromise' recalling the difficult
sessions of SCCR 18, 19 and 20. Mr. Liedes outlined his objective to
reach conclusions by 6 PM on Friday, 12 November 2010 in contrast to
the midnight sessions of the last two Committee meetings.
France, on behalf of Group B (industrialized countries), opened SCCR
21's round of general interventions. Here are some key extracts from
the Group B statement.
"We continue to support the conclusion of a treaty on the protection
of performances in audiovisual media for we believe such an
international legal instrument would greatly contribute to cultural
and economic development as well as promote cultural diversity. In
view of the proposals made by several Member States since the last
session of this Committee, holding consultations would be all the more
Group B also remains convinced of the need of a treaty to address the
challenges of signal piracy encountered by broadcasting organizations.
We think such a normative solution should be found rapidly.
On exceptions and limitations, Group B recognizes the special needs of
persons with print disabilities which Group B members already address
in their national and regional legislation. The careful examination of
possible solutions in this Committee reinforces our conviction that
the dual track approach involving taking forward both the work of the
stakeholders platform and a potential international instrument
promises to be the most likely to produce concrete results.
We commend the work done by the platform with the recent launching of
its new project TIGAR which will facilitate the transmission of
publishers titles to trusted intermediaries. We would like to remind
everyone that there are two proposals on the table from Group B
members, Each tackle the main obstacle to the access to the protected
works for people with print disabilities, namely, the cross-border
We look forward to having substantive discussions on this issue, for
we believe working on the substance can help us make progress. We also
stand prepared to discuss in future work of this Committee the other
important issues under exceptions and limitations raised by the
Bangladesh took the floor on behalf of the Asian Group. The delegate
also expressed regret that the 20th Session could not reach an agreed
outcome". With respect to the protection of broadcasting
organizations, the Asian Group took note of Part 3 of Professor Robert
Picard's study on the Socioeconomic Dimension of the Unauthorized Use
of Signals  which reinforced the need for expanded limitations and
exceptions in the public interest in any instrument designed to combat
signal piracy. With respect to limitations and exceptions, the Asian
"The Asian Group adds great importance to sharing a balance between
the right holders and the larger public interest. Exceptions and
limitations to copyright are crucial in this regard. The Asian Group
wishes to thank the Secretariat for the updated report on the
questionnaire which should be a useful basis for furthering our
discussions in this Committee.
With respect to the issue of greater access to copyright protected
works by the visually impaired and other print disabled persons, the
Asian Group appreciates the work being done in the WIPO Stakeholders'
Platform. We welcome the fourth interim report of the Stakeholders'
Platform and appreciate the progress that's being made at the
Stakeholders' Platform. It is encouraging to learn about the launch of
the project to facilitate access to visually impaired persons to
Mr. Chairman, it is our firm belief that norm-setting in WIPO should
not be seen as limited to intellectual rights and protection but
should reflect a broader social and development context if WIPO is to
remain the principle international body responsible for intellectual
property it's norm-setting activities should reflect the broader
context of current IP debates and if possible try to address some
ramifications of IP which spill over onto other sectors, especially
those concerning the common good.
With a view to bringing in a greater balance the Asian Group considers
it is important to have a framework for safeguarding the public
interest which is now being dealt with as exceptions and limitations
clauses since such a framework does not currently exist. In this
context our group would like to reiterate our readiness to proceed
with the work on the basis of the treaty proposal put forward by
Brazil, Ecuador Paraguay and Mexico as well as the other proposals
which had been put forward during the last session. As all of us in
this Committee seem to be in agreement that something needs to be done
to alleviate the situation with persons with print disabilities the
Asian group urges that this Committee moves forward on substantive
discussions and not preempt any outcome at this stage in this
particular regard. At the same time we hope that this Committee
commences a broader and more meaningful discussion on establishing a
normative framework for exceptions and limitations encompassing other
areas of public policies.
In this context the group suggests that future work programme for this
Committee be comprehensive in nature with the possible sequential
approach being built into the programme to facilitate substantive
discussions on issues that have attained a certain degree of maturity.
Mr. Chairman, these are some of the broad comments that we had wished
to make on behalf of the group, individual Member States of the group
would express their own specific viewpoints in separate statements."
Brazil, on behalf of the Development Agenda Group, made a strong
statement concerning the protection of broadcasting organizations
noting that the main concern of the Development Agenda Group was
"related to the risk that granting stronger copyright protection or
additional rights protection measures will increase costs and affect
access to broadcasts in developing countries. In order to better
understand the issues involved member countries of this Committee
requested the Secretariat at the 18th Session to commission a study to
take stock of the current condition of the broadcasting environment
and social economic dimensions of unauthorized use of signals. That
study by, prepared by Professor Picard will be discussed in this
session this is an interesting study and we look forward to discussing
it in great detail under the appropriate item it has the perspective
of multiple stakeholders and looks at social welfare and how to
safeguard public interest.
The study by Professor Picard finds for example that the array of data
and analysis needed to directly measure or forecast the effects of the
treaty with accuracy are not yet available this is partly due to the
uncertainty about the overall scope and scale of the losses due to
unauthorized use discovered by that treaty.
The study also clearly establishes the differences in how theft or
piracy of signals differ from piracy of copyright goods such as books,
DVDs, et cetera and notes the economic effect of signal piracy is
weaker for broadcasting and cablecasting as compared to copyright
groups and may not affect company revenue depending on consumer demand
issues. This is an example of highlights from this study prompt us us
to recall that anyone working the SCCR must be pursuing the line of
mandate given to reach by the General Assembly."
The mandate of the 2007 General Assembly states that:
"the subject of broadcasting organizations and cablecasting
organizations be retained on the agenda of the SCCR for its regular
sessions and consider convening of a Diplomatic Conference only after
agreement on objectives, specific scope and object of protection has
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