[A2k] IP-Watch: WIPO Members Conclude Year Positively With Copyright Committee, Despite No Changes To Text

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Sun Dec 14 23:10:41 PST 2014


WIPO Members Conclude Year Positively With Copyright Committee, Despite No
Changes To Text

14/12/2014 BY CATHERINE SAEZ <http://www.ip-watch.org/author/catherine/>,

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s last committee meeting of
the year finished on an amiable note last week. The committee on copyright
did not advance on text drafting but, according to the chair and a number
of delegations, the weeklong meeting was an opportunity for extensive
discussions on substance, the best in a long time.

The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) met from
8-12 December <http://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=32094>

The first part of the week was dedicated to a potential treaty protecting
IP rights of broadcasting organisations. The second part of the week
addressed exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives, and for
education, research and people with disabilities other than visual

On broadcasting, delegates mainly kept to informal discussions on three
informal technical documents on concepts, object of protection, and rights
to be granted to broadcasters (*IPW*, WIPO, 10 December 2014

SCCR Chair Martin Moscoso said on 11 December that more work is needed on
those concepts, as views are still divergent. The informal discussions
revealed the need for some technical expertise, he said.

Acknowledging this, the summary by the chair
issued at the end of the session on 12 December states that “the Committee
agreed that technical experts, with emphasis on experts from developing and
least-developed countries, will be invited for a half-day information
session” at the next session of the SCCR.

Moscoso also remarked on 11 December that during the informal discussions,
the importance of including flexibility in the treaty was stressed so that
countries might implement it through related rights, or some other type of
legislative framework.

For example, according to sources, some countries do not cover broadcasting
and cablecasting organisations in the same manner and in some of those
countries, the cablecasting organisations do not benefit from copyright or
any IP rights. For those countries, the inclusion of cablecasting
organisations in the potential treaty is problematic.

A request was made in informal consultations, Moscoso said on 11 December,
to update two previous studies.

One of the studies is a technical background paper
<http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/copyright/en/sccr_7/sccr_7_8.pdf> [pdf]
prepared by the secretariat in 2002, entitled, “Protection of Broadcasting
Organizations.” The other study
<http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/copyright/en/sccr_19/sccr_19_12.pdf> [pdf]
was undertaken in 2010 “on the Socio Economic Dimension of the Unauthorized
Use of Signals: Current Market and Technology Trends in the Broadcasting
Sector.” The summary by the chair indicates that the aim is to present the
results of that study and provide opportunities for technical discussion at
the next SCCR session.

However, Moscoso said it has been requested that such studies “should be
done in a way that is contributing to the process and not putting
additional obstacles to the process.”

The summary by the chair was noted by the SCCR after a number of
delegations asked for modifications, most of which were declined by
Moscoso, as he remarked that this was his summary and contained only
factual, neutral information, just to be noted by the committee.

In the corridors, the tone was moderate. Several delegations said although
substantial discussions had been useful, positions remained unchanged and
some of them said underlying the lack of real progress on textual drafting
are political issues, and notably around the issue of limitations and
exceptions, to which most developed countries oppose a binding
international instrument.

NGOs Concerned

Knowledge Ecology International said the current “technical documents”
indicate that services such as iTunes or Amazon or Netflix, or streaming
services, could benefit from protection from the treaty if they are able to
show that the content was sent over a cable television station, a
satellite, a TV, or a radio to somebody, somewhere on the planet, at least

“It is like giving a property right to a bookstore because they sell a
book,” he said. “It is a pretty frightening instrument that you are
designing here,” he added. He asked that the technical documents be made
public so the public at large understands the conversation about something
that affects the internet and these new technologies.

The Computer and Communications Computer Association concurred and added
that a broadcast signal ceases to exist upon reception of the live signal
by any device capable of either retransmitting it or making it perceivable
to a natural person. The representative suggested to make clear that
protection is not going to be extended to fictional objects, such as any
kind of a fixed signal.

A group called Latin Artis said broadcasting companies should not have any
exclusive right for any of the signal stream. If a treaty is agreed upon,
the representative said, it should be understood that all broadcasting
companies wanting to benefit from the treaty have to respect the rights of
the content they are exploiting.

Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives

The part of the agenda devoted on limitations and exceptions opened with a
presentation by copyright attorney and former professor Kenneth Crews
<http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/about/director-and-staff/> of an
updated study on copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries and
archives. The study
<http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/copyright/en/sccr_29/sccr_29_3.pdf> [pdf]
was unanimously hailed by delegates for its quality and led to a discussion
on copyright law that spanned a full day.

The study is an update of a previous study Crews did in 2008 on the same
subject (*IPW*, WIPO, 12 December 2014

According to the chair’s summary, the secretariat is to prepare “a document
combining both study documents and reflect the additional information on
national library and archive limitations and exceptions provided by

And the secretariat is expected to provide the section of the meeting
report including the record of the presentation by Crews, and discussion
among member states and observers.

Proposals, New Document

On 11 December, the United States further presented its proposal
<http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/copyright/en/sccr_26/sccr_26_8.pdf> [pdf]
for “Objectives and Principles for Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries
and Archives.”

The United States has said, as have a number of developed countries, that
it is not supportive of an international binding instrument providing
exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives. Rather, it is in
favour of sharing experiences of best practices to help countries
incorporate exceptions and limitations in their own legislation. The US
also said this week that individual countries should have the flexibility
to address their own needs on the matter without the constraints of
international obligations.

Brazil introduced a new document, which is the consolidation of proposed
texts contained in the current working document
<http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/copyright/en/sccr_26/sccr_26_3.pdf> [pdf]
on exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives. This consolidated
document was prepared by the African Group, Brazil, Ecuador, India and
Uruguay. It was meant to consolidate the proposed text by the African
Group, Brazil, Uruguay and India.

The structure of the working document has been maintained, said the
Brazilian delegate, as well as the number of topics and their title. Kenya
for the African Group added that the changes introduced by the digital
world in the activities of libraries and their challenge “will not go away”
and need to be addressed.

At the last session of the SCCR, those countries proposed that the
secretariat work on that compilation, but that was opposed by some
developed countries (*IPW*, WIPO, 7 July 2014

On 12 December, Moscoso proposed to adopt a methodology based on a
non-paper he circulated on exceptions and limitations for libraries and
archives, which was strictly forbidden to be made public.

The non-paper presents a chart laying out topics, and the conclusions
already adopted on those topics by the SCCR on past sessions. Topics
include: preservation, library lending, parallel importations, cross-border
uses, orphan works, and limitations on liability of libraries and archives.
The discussions based on the non-paper would aim at reaching a common
understanding, he said.

Most delegations asked for time to consider the non-paper and come back
with comments at the next session of the committee.

On exceptions and limitations for education, research and people with
disabilities other than visual impairment, the United States further
presented its proposal
<http://www.wipo.int/edocs/mdocs/copyright/en/sccr_27/sccr_27_8.pdf> [pdf]
for “Objectives and Principles for Exceptions and Limitations for
Educational, Teaching, and Research Institutions.”

Much as for exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives,
developed countries generally consider that the existing copyright systems
in place in many countries already provide sufficient exceptions and
limitations, and there is no need for an international instrument. They
also underline the importance of flexibility for WIPO members to shape
their own copyright laws.

The European Union said it is “not considering” work leading to a legally
binding instrument in this area in the SCCR.

The African Group expressed “deep concern on the inability of this
committee to advance discussions on the topic of exceptions and limitations
for education, research institutions, and persons with other disabilities.”

Kenya, on behalf of the African Group, underlined the time allocation,
saying it is unfavourable to the topic of exceptions and limitations.
India, on behalf of the Asia and Pacific Group, underlined the lack of
resources to meet individual needs and the “continuously widening digital
divide,” and the fact that the Asia and Pacific region has the largest
number of disabled persons in the world.

“We look forward to the compassionate understanding of all member states,”
the delegate said, as nations need help from a multilateral level to build
their own legislation.

Leer: We Need Tangible Decisions

Ann Leer, the WIPO deputy director general for the culture and creative
industries sector, said at the close of the meeting that her expectations
are “sky high, and they are going to remain sky high because we mustn’t
miss the boat.”

“We have to move beyond chair’s summary, into action,” she said. She
prompted delegates to do their homework. “The last thing I want to see is
that nothing happens between the end of this session and the next session
in June,” she said.

The chair’s summary is not enough, she insisted. “We do need some real
tangible decisions. Otherwise, the technical world is going to move and run
away, and we are going to be left behind, with multilateral legal
frameworks which are out of date, which do not accommodate the new world.”

The next session of the SCCR is expected to take place from 29 June to 3

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