Top WIPO Copyright Official Promotes DRMs, Stresses Cooperation02/02/2006 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.ROME – The top official for copyright issues at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) this week told a gathering of experts that standards are needed to protect content online, and stressed cooperation among institutions and others in the field.“Our work together is gaining increasing importance and increasing urgency,” said Rita Hayes, deputy director for copyright and related rights at the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).Speaking at an 30-31 January event sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Hayes called for greater cooperation.OECD officials also stressed cooperation. Secretary-General Donald Johnston highlighted the OECD’s involvement in digital content, including in education, e-government, and science. He said the OECD’s role is as analyst, and said that it informs governments in their decision-making.Hugo Parr, chairman of the OECD committee on information technology policy, told Intellectual Property Watch that there is no threat to WIPO of the OECD moving into the area.“International organisations should take care not to duplicate work,” he said. “I think the OECD is broad enough and has a broad enough mandate in terms of total economic perspective of its member nations that it has interest in IPR as one factor of the economy, among many. But I don’t see it becoming a competitor to WIPO, for instance.” Parr said the OECD’s expertise lies in “assisting governments with analysis and policy recommendations.”Hayes also emphasised the importance of intellectual property. “Intellectual property has moved to centre stage,” Hayes said, noting its increasing role in the economies of many nations. Intellectual property, though it is intangible, is the basis for entire industries, she said.Hayes said estimates are that intellectual property accounted for US$3 trillion in global trade last year, and that is expected to double to more than US$6 trillion by 2020. The creative industries are growing faster than any other sector, she added.There are many different views about copyright protection, she said, but everyone shares a common interest in content, which is the “currency … across the Internet.” “Without attractive and innovative content, the Internet would be a barren landscape,” she said.Hayes said WIPO stresses the importance of intellectual property protection, and named three key factors to be pursued. These are to establish an inclusive and sound legal framework, efficient enforcement regimes, and an intellectual property environment that encourages the development of creative industries.On the legal framework, WIPO is focused on getting nations’ adherence to its 1996 treaties related to the Internet, the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, she said. Hayes promoted digital rights management, and said further work is needed, such as in developing standardisation and helping with interoperability of systems, and in reducing legal obstacles.“Without a common approach to DRM standards, key issues regarding compatibility between digital devices and copyright-protected digital content will remain unresolved,” she said in her prepared remarks. “This would be an obstacle to increasing the legal availability of copyrighted content on the Internet.”WIPO also is considering “ways to address the interplay between limitations and exceptions and DRM-protected content – particularly in regard to accessibility issues,” she added.Michael Geist, University of Ottawa law professor, highlighted in his blog after the event that it is the content industry view that interoperability among electronic gadgets is the problem with DRMs. This, he said, runs contrary to the consumer or user view that DRMs get in the way of their use of technologies.Hayes also touted the negotiation at WIPO for a treaty on the rights of broadcasters. Some later speakers criticised the idea as outdated because it reinforces an older broadcast-driven thinking about content, and also because it would potentially give new, unnecessary rights to broadcasters.Hayes highlighted several principles behind WIPO. The organisation is member-driven; has a legal framework that strikes a balance between the needs of stakeholders (reflected by the recent inclusion of exceptions and limitations for education and disabilities in the agenda of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights); is flexible; and is focused on IP protection.A key issue facing WIPO is the debate over expansion of its development agenda. Hayes mentioned that there has been a “meaningful discussion” on development. But she did not discuss the development agenda. Instead, she mentioned the digital divide, noting that as of 2005, there were over 640 million people online, but only 1.5 percent of the African population is online compared with 67 percent in the United States.Strong partnerships and cooperation will be critical for the future, she concluded.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"Top WIPO Copyright Official Promotes DRMs, Stresses Cooperation" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.