WIPO Copyright Committee Hears Case For Exceptions For Museums10/12/2015 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.Museums usually gather heterogeneous objects, coming in various forms, and engage in different activities in relation to those objects. With the advance of information technologies, museums have to adapt and consider the digitisation of their collections, which brings copyright questions, according to a study presented yesterday at the World Intellectual Property Organization. Natural History Museum, LondonPart of the agenda of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), meeting this week, is the issue of limitations and exceptions to copyright in favour of libraries, archives, educational and research institutions, and people with disabilities other than visual impairment.A study [pdf] was presented yesterday on the need for copyright exceptions and limitations for museums by Lucie Guibault, co-authored with Jean-François Canat, and Elisabeth Logeais, who collaborated on the study.According to the authors, the study investigates the issue of limitations and exceptions to copyright for museums and means to raise the international understanding on the need for museums to have adequate limitations to copyright. The study gives an overview of relevant existing legislative provisions.Museum collections include diverse objects, such as objects of art, texts, drawings, paintings, photographs, maps, films and sound recordings, according to the study. Museums have to adapt to the digital age and consider digitising and disseminating their collections via the internet.In principle, said the authors, museums need rights holders’ permission to reproduce any copyright-protected objects in their collections, unless an exception or limitation to copyright applies. Of the 188 WIPO members, only 45 of them have laws which contain provisions specifically allowing museums to make certain uses of works in their collections without prior authorisation of the rights holder, the study found.Museums Need to Speak Up, Authors SayAccording to Guibault and Logeais, the study is meant to “put museums on the map of the SCCR.” However, they told Intellectual Property Watch, “museums need to speak out.”Museums engage in diverse activities, such as exhibitions, reproduction, catalogues, preservation and digitisation and there is a need for clarification on copyright, they said. For example, on digitisation, it is currently unclear under many legislations if museums are actually allowed to do that, they added.A survey was conducted among the members of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), to enquire about the nature of their mandate and the composition of their collection, and about the type of activities they carry out with respect to the works in their collection, according to the study.According to ICOM’s website, the organisation has over 35,000 members. Guibault and Logeais told Intellectual Property Watch that ICOM has received 71 responses to the survey. This poor turnover can be explained by several reasons, they said, such as that the survey was only available in English and in Spanish, and that most museums do not have legal staff. However, this underlines the fact that there is a need for awareness raising among museums on the issue, they said. Image Credits: Flickr – Gene KraskoShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (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)RelatedCatherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO Copyright Committee Hears Case For Exceptions For Museums" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.