WIPO Assemblies Put Industry, Creators, Policymakers In Touch; Enforcement Committee Gets Mandate 01/10/2013 by William New and Alessandro Marongiu for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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)Policymakers at the World Intellectual Property Organization annual General Assembly over the past week have had significant exposure to what industry and creators are up to. Meanwhile, WIPO members approved the mandate for the WIPO committee on IP enforcement. The annual WIPO General Assemblies are taking place from 23 September to 2 October. WIPO members during the Assemblies took note of the report of the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE), a WIPO non-negotiating body mandated to serve as a forum for discussion of enforcement issues and to provide technical assistance and coordination to combat counterfeiting and piracy activities. According to ACE report, the committee will consider, at its ninth session, the following topics: “Practices and operation of alternative dispute resolution systems in IP areas” and “Preventive actions, measures or successful experiences to complement ongoing enforcement measures with a view to reducing the size of the market for counterfeited or pirated goods.” During the WIPO Assemblies discussion on the activities of the ACE, several delegations underlined the importance of ensuring compliance with existing IP treaties. The US praised the committee’s “informative and useful exchange of information and best practices” and warned that “no work should distract the committee from its mandate to be a discussion forum.” Brazil, speaking on behalf of the Development Agenda Group (DAG) – a coalition of developing countries pursuing a development-oriented approach in the international intellectual property regime – emphasised the importance of adopting a “holistic view” to build respect for intellectual property. In this regard, the DAG stressed the importance of using a “mix of repressive, economic and educational measures” to combat intellectual property rights breaches. Ibero-American Broadcasting Alliance Meanwhile, in addition to the usual industry lobbyist who are observers to WIPO, innovators and creators in particular were given the spotlight, with panels, displays and receptions. For instance, there were Georgian traditional dancers, an exhibition of Belgian cartoonists and beer, and achingly modern Italian furniture, lighting, and vehicles all around. The Assemblies also saw the launch of the Ibero-American Broadcasting Alliance for Intellectual Property (ARIPI). The group announced its interest in advancing the treaty on broadcasters’ rights currently on the agenda of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). The next meeting of the SCCR will be held from 16-20 December. The lobby group has the support of major broadcasters like Televisa and Univision, and major figures in policy, development and entertainment in Latin America, it said. At the launch reception, the group was introduced by WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and Spain’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Ana María Menéndez Pérez. Gurry noted that the recent completion of WIPO treaties in Beijing and Marrakesh showed an alignment of the public and private sectors, and that the new alliance represents an “extraordinary opportunity” for such an alignment as well. Gurry said broadcasting is the main area in copyright and related rights that has not been updated, and that “it’s really an emergency.” That’s because broadcasting is the area of creativity where the greatest amount of infringement is occurring, he said, adding, “It’s time we tackle that.” A representative from Televisa said the broadcast industry since it started in the 1920s with radio and 1930s with television has been promoting intellectual property rights. But it has “absolutely collapsed” from misappropriation and has become the “playing field of pirates,” he said. “It is time to work together, now, with no excuses,” the industry representative said. The new alliance is actively seeking more allies. The legal framework to protect broadcasts has remained frozen since 1961. Now they want a harmonised international standard and legal framework. Some 16 years ago, Mexico started the negotiations, along with South Africa, with an unwieldy document, and now a new, easier-to-understand proposal has been put forward, Manual Guerra Zamarro, director general of the Mexican Copyright Office, told Intellectual Property Watch. A difference this time from 2007, when an effort to move to a diplomatic conference (high-level treaty negotiation) collapsed over disagreement, is that at that time some delegations wanted to make new rules related to the internet. This time, he said, they will not try to regulate the internet, but rather want to regulate so that pirated signals do not pass through the internet. The issue is under negotiation in the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), which is expected to meet next in December. Lets Go Connected Meanwhile, among the exhibits in the lobby of the Assemblies hall was a booth promoting a copyright industry initiative to show that they are coming with attractive ways for users to access legal content in order to discourage use of unauthorised content. LetsGoConnected is a “digital event” created by industry giants Bertelsmann, NBC Universal and Vivendi in 2012. The “event” took place from 25-27 September alongside the Assemblies, offering digital showcases to delegates. It featured “compelling showcases introducing creative digital offers and technology by experts committed to developing solutions for a diverse and vibrant digital marketplace,” according to the LetsGoConnected website. “By bringing together the experiences of talents, creative industry professionals, officials, entrepreneurs and opinion leaders, LetsGoConnected creates an opportunity to build a platform for dialogue with all aspects of the European and international digital landscape ranging from books to music, press and film,” it said. The group issued a “white paper” for the Assembly, entitled, Focus: Intellectual Property and the Creative Economy [pdf]. 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