WIPO Copyright Committee Negotiating Texts AvailablePublished on 23 July 2012 @ 8:39 pm
By William New, Intellectual Property Watch
The World Intellectual Property Organization Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is meeting intensively to try to resolve differences on a variety of instruments, from visually impaired readers, to broadcasting, to educational and research institutions. Intellectual Property Watch has the latest texts.
The 24th SCCR is meeting from 16-25 July.
Visually Impaired and Print-Disabled
On an exception for visually impaired and print-disabled persons, the document from 21 July is entitled “Proposals for revised text for document SCCR/23/7,” and is available here [pdf].
This document was discussed tonight in informals and is expected to be re-issued tomorrow with updates reflecting Saturday’s informal session and tonight’s.
The plenary meeting tomorrow will address visually impaired issues in the morning, according to sources.
The document from 20 July was also called Proposals for revised text for document SCCR/23/7, and is “available here” [pdf].
It is not yet agreed whether members are negotiating for a treaty or for something softer, like recommendations or a declaration, which appears to be favoured by developed countries like the United States. The mandate of this week’s meeting was to try to come back to the annual General Assembly in October with a recommendation for a diplomatic conference (high-level treaty negotiation), but it remains unclear whether negotiators will get there this week.
This week’s proposals on visually impaired exceptions are building on the text drafted at the last SCCR, the 23rd meeting of the committee.
On the proposed treaty on broadcasters’ rights, the text circulated this morning and worked on during the day is the “Chair’s Non-Paper on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations” [pdf].
Several delegations, led by Japan, complained about the format of this document before the lunch break, as it relegated the new Japanese proposal to footnotes. Members and chair Alexandra Grazioli of Switzerland agreed that there should be more than just a compilation text of all the proposals to date, but it remained to be worked out how incorporate additional proposals into the text.
There does not appear to be disagreement on what kind of instrument it will be, but there remain doubts, especially among observer groups, about whether there needs to be an instrument at all.
The meeting was held in informal session this afternoon, as it was on Saturday. On both days, the attention was on the visually impaired and broadcasting instruments.
Tomorrow, the meeting will return to the exceptions and limitations for educational and research institutions, which was heavily worked on last week (IPW, WIPO, 18 July 2012).
And members will address for the first time in this SCCR limitation and exceptions for libraries and archives, on which more progress was made at the last SCCR.
African Group Proposal
The African Group this week put forward a proposal that is more comprehensive, entitled, “Draft Treaty on Exceptions and Limitations for Persons with Disabilities, Educational and Research Institutions, Libraries and Archives.”
This is an “unprecedented” proposal by the African Group, and includes an open access provision, fair use doctrine, list of exceptions and limitations similar to the European Union Copyright Directive, and distance learning. It gives a clear-cut exception to science, ostensibly for the first time. It also contains a limitation on liability of internet service providers that some said has run into resistance from developed countries.
“Between the practical and the political, there must be the meaningful and the relevant,” said Nigerian negotiator and US Prof. Ruth Okediji.
Knowledge Ecology International, a strong proponent of the treaty for the visually impaired, has posted numerous video interviews with participants at this week’s SCCR, see here.
William New may be reached at email@example.com.