[A2k] Intervention of CCIA at WIPO SCCR24: Use of Copyrighted Works by Educational Institutions, Libraries and Archives

Thirukumaran Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Jul 25 03:00:27 PDT 2012

Intervention of CCIA on the Use of Copyrighted Works by Educational Institutions, Libraries and Archives at the 24th Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organization

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Computer & Communications Industry Association welcomes the work of the SCCR in this important subject area and we are encouraged by the many proposals, exhibiting a high level of engagement by countries worldwide.

Ensuring that a balance exists in copyright is a public policy goal we all share; a key part of realizing that goal is a balance of rights and flexibilities, especially in the digital age. This discussion seeks to develop a more balanced system, which all stakeholders should welcome. We certainly do.

Mr. Chairman, those who remember the initial proposals for discussing limitations and exceptions presented by, amongst others, Chile, will recall that part of the rationale the proponents gave is that a group of countries in Latin America tried to create a shared educational portal online and found that their legal regimes in combination made it impossible to do. Ensuring that safe harbour provisions are a part of any international agreement to facilitate legal access to information is essential to making that kind of portal possible. After all, if you create a regime which grants users access but does not produce legal certainty for those who responsibly facilitate that access, have you really helped anyone?

We are therefore surprised by interventions of the United States and the European Commission objecting to the language proposed by Nigeria on Internet intermediary safe harbours. From our review of the language, it is clearly logical and tailored specifically to the subject area. In fact, safe harbours are actually essential to make access envisaged for the beneficiaries possible in the digital environment. We find the Commission and US position particularly perplexing since these proposals are entirely congruent with the legal regimes of both the USA and EU.

Mr. Chairman, the empirical evidence is overwhelming: if you want to have a vibrant Internet with rich services of all kinds, with all the economic development and opportunity for improvements in education, commerce, and social development that they bring, safe harbours for intermediaries who make access to information possible are an absolutely indispensable foundation upon which to build an enabling environment. It is therefore not accidental, Mr. Chairman, that you see concentrations of the Internet economy and innovation in those countries where you see strong safe harbour regimes.

Finally, with respect to the proposal to focus on a couple of issues, we suggest that the ultimate result of these discussions should be holistic and sustainable, and endorse the comments of IFLA in this regard, and reiterate our support for a clear statement from this House as an outcome of this meeting to prioritise the needs of the visually impaired.


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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