[A2k] KEI statement to 48th WIPO General Assemblies on the SCCR work program

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Thu Sep 23 09:25:17 PDT 2010


KEI statement to 48th WIPO General Assemblies on the SCCR work program
By thiru
Created 23 Sep 2010 - 12:19pm
Below is the statement delivered by KEI on Thursday, 23 September 2010  
to the 48th WIPO General Assemblies on agenda item 27 dealing with  
Report on the Work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related  
Rights (SCCR).

Statement of Knowledge Ecology International
48th Session of the WIPO ASSEMBLIES
Thursday, 23 September 2010

Item 27: Report on the Work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and  
Related Rights (SCCR)

Thank you Madame Chair for providing Knowledge Ecology International  
with the opportunity to discuss the work program of the SCCR. Our  
comments will focus on the topic of copyright limitations and  
exceptions, as regards to the important issue of access to knowledge,  
and the expectations of some member states that there will be higher  
levels of copyright enforcement in the near future.

KEI agrees with the Africa Group and other member states that the SCCR  
should make commitments to address broader access to knowledge issues,  
in the context of limitations and exceptions to copyright,  
particularly in the area of education and research. We recognize this  
is a difficult and complex issue, and that norm setting will have to  
take into account the impact of exceptions on the markets for such  
products, and need to provide certain areas where educators, students  
and others have the freedom to copy and use certain works outside of  
an exclusive rights framework. In this regard, we think the SCCR may  
find it useful to reflect upon the experience of member states in  
using the Appendix to the Berne, which was designed to address some of  
these issues. As many delegates recognize, the Appendix the Berne is  
widely considered a failure in terms of a global instrument. The SCCR  
may want to analyze why the Appendix was a failure, and what can be  
done to revisit this issue, and what might be possible in terms of  
fashioning a new global instrument that actually works, and serves the  
interests of developing countries to expand access to knowledge. This  
could include a separate agreement as was the case in the WCT.

KEI is opposed to an SCCR work program that links progress on all  
issues. In the area of copyright and related rights, rights holders  
have profited from a strategy of breaking up their proposals into  
separate instruments, some of which have succeeded, some of which have  
not succeeded. Considering the example of the WIPO IGC on genetic  
resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, the Africa Group’s  
strategy of separating discussions of folklore, GR and TK have proven  
to be quite useful in moving forward the work of the IGC.

As regards the issue of access to persons who are blind or have other  
disabilities, KEI endorses the substantive positions of the Brazil,  
Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico, and the Africa Group, and opposes the  
wrongheaded proposals by the United States and the European Union to  
push for weak voluntary agreements that introduce new complex  
procedures, that risk the same failures we have seen in the Appendix  
to the Berne, and the paragraph 6 procedure at the WTO for access to  
medicines. We note that the US and the EU have made proposals that are  
inconsistent with their own national laws. We also note that Canada  
has made an appalling proposal to limit exports of works to only  
Canadian authors, a proposal that would lead to very restrictive  
access if embraced by other countries.

Thank you Chair.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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