WIPO Copyright Committee Begins New Era With Revised Agenda, Same ChairPublished on 11 March 2008 @ 10:39 am
Intellectual Property Watch
By William New
The World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee on Monday began a new era in the wake of a failed decade of negotiations for a broadcasters’ rights treaty. But it will tackle its new agenda including limitations and exceptions to copyright with the same chairman who guided the broadcasting talks with fervour.
Finland’s Jukka Liedes was re-elected chairman of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) Monday after closed-door debate that lasted most of the first day. It was unclear how a deal was reached on returning Liedes to the chair he has held for about a decade, but sources said there were no other candidates formally put forth. The SCCR is meeting from 10-12 March.
The vice-chair post changed somewhat. Chile, which has an interest in a key agenda item, moved into one of the spots, and Morocco held on to other, as China agreed to step out. China will take over Morocco’s spot next year, sources said. But one diplomat said Liedes may not rely heavily on the vice chairs to bring consensus on issues.
The biggest item on the agenda this year appears to be limitations and exceptions to copyright, a proposal put forward by Chile in the past (IPW, Technical Cooperation/Technology Transfer, 12 January 2006) and dusted off for this meeting. Proponents could seek an international instrument on exceptions and limitations, a source said. These are generally aimed at reining in the scope of copyright, boosting the public domain, and protecting access to content for fair use and by special users such as libraries. This item was said by participants to have been moved to the top of the agenda.
Sign of a new issue at WIPO came in a late addition to the agenda by Slovenia on behalf of the European Union. It proposed to hold an information session this week on WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Centre and copyrights. Traditionally, the centre has focussed on disputes over Internet domain names and trademarks. The agenda item was adopted and the session is expected on Wednesday.
The agenda also includes the perennial effort to restart talks for a treaty on audiovisual performances, and still includes the broadcasting treaty, which is most sought be European nations struggling with signal theft.
At least one side event is planned for the week aside from the arbitration centre. An event on Tuesday will address the value of exceptions and limitations with moderators and presenters from the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, International Federation of Library Associations, permanent mission of Chile, Knowledge Ecology International, British Library and IQ Sensato/Yale Law School.
William New may be reached at email@example.com.