[A2k] Endorse WIPO Ed and Research Treaty

Sean Flynn sflynn at wcl.american.edu
Mon Oct 1 07:48:32 PDT 2018

Despite the promise of the digital age and its reduction of the marginal cost of sharing learning and research materials, we still live in a world in which there is acute inequality in access to resources for teaching, learning and research. Too often the barrier to fully utilizing learning and research materials is based in a restrictive copyright system. Learning and research materials that are lawful in one country may be restricted in another - making the goal of universal access to a common set of learning tools practically impossible. Human rights obligations and sustainable development goals bind governments to act in response. One means for such action would be to put in place a new element of the international legal system in the form of a set of binding norms that require all countries to make research and learning materials available for use by all, whenever such use is in accord with the time-tested copyright principle of "fair practice."

Today, we release a treaty proposal to take another step toward this goal - The Civil Society Proposed Treaty on Copyright Exceptions for Educational and Research Activities.

The treaty has been endorsed by 15 civil society and research organizations at the Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest. It is open to additional endorsements at https://form.jotform.com/pijip/endorse-TERA

The core of the treaty requires that all copyright laws contain rights to use materials for educational or research purposes compatible with fair practice, including:
*            making copies in the course of teaching, learning, and research;
*            performing or communicating works in an educational context;
*            making quotations;
*            using images, short works and excerpts of longer works;
*            translating materials;
*            using materials for which the right holder cannot reasonably be identified or located, or for which there is no longer a commercial exploitation;
*            making and providing accessible format copies of materials to people with disabilities;
*            importing lawfully made copies of materials;
*            to use works for computational or other research uses that do not themselves express or communicate the work to the public, including indexing and text and data-mining.

The Treaty would further require that all rights to use educational or research materials be protected from contractual provisions or technological protection measures, and that good faith users of works for educational or research purposes be protected from claims for damages and criminal liability.
Review and endorse the treaty at https://tinyurl.com/TERA-GCV

Sean Flynn
Professorial Lecturer and Director, LLM in IP
Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
American University Washington College of Law

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