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    US Ambassador Sees Hope For WIPO Visually Impaired Treaty This Year

    Published on 13 September 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    United States Ambassador Betty King told a gathering of journalists at the US mission yesterday of the important work being done at the international institutions under her responsibility in Geneva, including the World Intellectual Property Organization and World Health Organization.

    At WIPO, King said there are legal systems that govern the crossborder flow of copyrighted material, and that the US is “very much hoping to get a treaty on that – or hoping to get some legal instrument on that – by the end of this year” that will allow those materials to flow to blind and visually impaired readers.

    The subject of whether it will be a treaty or a lesser instrument is the matter of debate in the WIPO negotiations, but the US in particular was accused of blocking quick progress toward a treaty in July.

    At the July meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), it was agreed to leave open the possibility of an instrument being negotiated at a high-level diplomatic conference in 2013 (IPW, WIPO, 26 July 2012).

    It is unclear if the issue will come up at the annual WIPO General Assembly in early October, but the next meeting of the SCCR is scheduled for 19-23 November, with the treaty for print-disabled readers prominently on the agenda.

    [Update] There is also an “inter-sessional meeting on exceptions and limitations for visually impaired persons / persons with print disabilities” to be held on 17-19 October.

    Speaking about IP issues at the journalists’ luncheon yesterday, King said, “I know that intellectual property is an incredibly dry subject,” but said it is “the engine for innovation, creativity and development.”

    “This is why the United States and its entrepreneurs and business community have so very much interest in WIPO,” she said. “We are, of course, spending a lot of time there because we want to ensure that the work of our inventors are acknowledged and protected and that their efforts pay off.”

    King also praised the completion in July after many years at WIPO of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances as an example of “concrete success.” “I know lots of our legislators back home and members of the press question the outcome of the work we do here in Geneva,” she said.

    “Hollywood, of course, is quite happy” with this treaty, she said, which requires countries to update and be consistent with standards of protection for audiovisual performers and their work.

    King also praised the Geneva health agencies and highlighted work done there during her tenure so far. For instance, there is now in place a pandemic preparedness plan for virus-sharing, and the WHO is “fully engaged” on noncommunicable diseases. She noted that while attention was given to the high-profile UN meeting on NCDs in New York one year ago, “it was here in Geneva where the hard work was done.” She also cited the “incredible progress” that has been made on the AIDS pandemic.

    WTO at “Incredibly Interesting Crossroads”

    Michael Punke, US Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, had favourable words to say about the WTO’s role, and said, “WTO as an institution is at an incredibly interesting crossroads.”

    He told journalists not to see WTO as defined exclusively by the 2001 Doha Round of trade talks, but also as a repository of rules on trade, and the forum where dispute resolution takes place under a “universally admired” model.

    One of the ways he said there might be movement out of the negotiating deadlock is in the expansion of the WTO Information Technology Agreement. The original ITA gave a boost to economies, he said, but was completed even before the internet came fully into being.

    William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

     


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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