[A2k] WIPO “Marathon Session” on Libraries, Archives, Reading Disabled Instrument (ICTSD)

Sean Andrews cultstud76 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 23 20:24:40 PST 2011

This sounds like a very positive development.  Can anyone give me a sense
of what this might mean for something like the Hathi Trust project with
various US libraries?  The Author's Guild along with various other
international bodies sued Hathi over its scanning of orphan works in the
collections of these libraries.  The request of the plaintiffs was to have
the works that had been scanned impounded barring a legislative solution.
In the US, there has been no helpful legislation clearing up the issue of
orphan works and the stalemate of our political system promises nothing in
the near future.  Here is a briefing written by Jonathan Band of Policy
Bandwidth for the Association of Research Libraries.


However, if I read the statement below correctly (along with the other
statements by the IFLA: http://www.ifla.org/en/node/5858) it sounds like
the relief might come through a bit of policy laundering in the favor of
libraries and scholarly communication.  Namely, if the US negotiators
agreed to this as a binding treaty, it might provide that legislative
solution.  Is that correct or am I being too optimistic?  If not, I guess
that explains why I've heard so little about it from the above mentioned
sources.  If so, why is there not more discussion and excitement about this

thanks for humoring me either way.  Have a nice day.

Sean Andrews
ACLS Public Fellow
NITLE Program Officer

On Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 19:41, Manon Ress <manon.ress at keionline.org> wrote:

> http://ictsd.org/i/news/bridgesweekly/119318/
> WIPO Ctte Launches “Marathon Session” on Libraries, Archives, Reading
> Disabled Instrument
> The World Intellectual Property Organization’s copyright body kicked
> off negotiations this week, with the goal of advancing major work on
> exceptions and limitations instruments for libraries and archives and
> the reading disabled.  However, significant debate on whether these
> instruments should be legally binding treaties or soft law
> instruments, such as joint recommendations, has put developing and
> developed countries at odds with one another.
> The previous session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and
> Related Rights (SCCR) saw a coalition of countries - including the US,
> Brazil, Argentina and the EU - come together to support an instrument
> for the reading disabled (see Bridges Weekly 29 June 2011) and
> agreeing to the compilation of a Chair document based on the
> discussions that took place. That session also agreed to move forward
> a previously stalled treaty for the protection of audiovisual
> performances and advance discussions on an instrument to protect
> broadcasting organisations.
> In the current session, the SCCR is placing major focus on copyright
> limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives, with three days
> of discussion being dedicated to the issue. WIPO Director-General
> Francis Gurry, in his opening address, called this a “marathon
> session” of the SCCR, hoping it can find a “clearer way forward” on
> the libraries and archives item.
> In a statement to the SCCR on Monday 21 November, the International
> Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) recalled
> that “libraries and archives currently work under a patchwork of
> provisions that differ in scope and effect from country to country…
> [and they] increasingly fail to address the legal and policy
> challenges and opportunities of the global digital environment.”
> “Now more than ever, libraries need copyright frameworks that
> recognise the importance…of libraries and their users,” it added.
> Substantive proposals on libraries and archives have been submitted to
> this session by Brazil, with amendments from Ecuador and Uruguay, the
> African Group and the United States. Throughout the discussions on
> Monday and Tuesday, there were extensive discussions about the
> ultimate objectives of the process, particularly regarding whether the
> SCCR has an obligation to draft text for a treaty or another kind of
> instrument.
> “We don’t have an obligation to draft a text in the form of treaty
> language,” the EU urged, to which Pakistan replied, “We are under no
> obligation to draft text on treaty language at this stage, but we are
> under obligation to draft a text as we had all agreed.”
> As a compromise, several countries suggested that proposals be grouped
> into thematic clusters so that they could be more easily discussed.
> On Tuesday, all proposals were compiled by the WIPO Secretariat in a
> table intended to facilitate discussions.
> Some countries expressed concern that the table also included a treaty
> proposal by the International Federation of Library Associations and
> Institutions (IFLA), since the SCCR cannot consider proposals that are
> not endorsed by a member state.
> As Bridges went to press, member states agreed to Chair Manuel Guerra
> Zamarro’s suggestion to discuss the proposals under 10 thematic
> clusters and submit their written comments for compilation by the end
> of the week (with an extended three month deadline).
> Reading disabled instrument gets attention, but no certainty
> Similarly, member states seem to still be at odds on whether an
> instrument for the reading disabled should be a soft law, in the form
> of a joint recommendation, or a legally binding treaty - an issue that
> has featured in previous SCCR sessions (see Bridges Weekly, 29 June
> 2011).
> In their opening statement, Brazil noted that “WIPO should contribute
> with nothing less than a treaty to help address the book famine that
> deprives persons with print disabilities of access to written works
> and to provide them with legal certainty to benefit from the
> limitations and exceptions we are designing for them.”
> However, many developed countries conspicuously left the word “treaty”
> out of their statements on the issue.
> “It is undeniable that the most important humanitarian work that WIPO
> has embarked upon is finding a solution to the problems faced by print
> disabled persons in accessing educational works,” the US delegate
> said.
> The EU, on its part, said that it is “ready to achieve further
> convergence in our discussions on a possible international instrument
> on limitations for people with print disabilities.”
> The SCCR is meeting from 21 November - 2 December. A longer piece on
> the committee’s work will be published in the 7 December issue of
> Bridges Weekly.
> ICTSD reporting.
> --
> Manon Anne Ress
> Knowledge Ecology International
> 1621 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 500
> Washington, DC 20009 USA
> http://www.keionline.org
> manon.ress at keionline.org
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