Latest Text Of Treaty For Visually Impaired Shows More Work Needed

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Despite long hours of discussions yesterday, World Intellectual Property Organization delegates working on a draft document that could become a treaty/instrument to provide exceptions to copyright for visually impaired persons will have to come back to the text (below) today to try and bridge differences. For now, the meeting has moved on to a possible treaty on broadcasters’ rights.

The 25th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is taking place from 19-23 November. According to the work plan announced by meeting Chair Darlington Mwape of Zambia, the three first days of the committee were spent trying to draft a text that could be transmitted to an Extraordinary General Assembly in December, which could decide to convene a diplomatic conference in 2013.

New versions of the text have been provided daily with some changes as delegates tried to find ways to word it so that all sides are accommodated. A new text [pdf] was released this morning. Several issues are still open, a major one being the so-called three-step test, which provides conditions to the exceptions and limitations to copyright so that it “respects the legitimate interest of third parties,” according to the draft text.

This provision has been challenged by the African Group, and strongly supported by the European Union (IPW, WIPO, 21 November 2012).

According to a developing country delegate, keeping the provision of the three-step test would defy the purpose of the treaty/instrument. In particular, the African Group said it would weaken the instrument. Developed countries are in favour of this provision to protect rights holders.

Delegates are expected to reconvene this evening, after the plenary session, to further work on the text.

Following the chair’s work programme, delegates this morning started discussing a working document for a treaty on the protection of broadcasting organisations.

Catherine Saez may be reached at

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