WIPO Copyright Committee Agrees To Extra Time On Visually Impaired Access 15/11/2010 by Kaitlin Mara for Intellectual Property Watch 4 Comments 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)The World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee has reached an eleventh-hour agreement on a work programme that could help ease access to reading materials for the visually impaired. The compromise text, reached in negotiations that stretched past midnight on the last evening of the 8-12 November meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), stipulates three extra working days for the next three meetings of the SCCR. These three working days will be dedicated to discussions on limitations and exceptions to copyright law. An annexed timetable to the text sets out specific steps for the SCCR to take on these issues over the course of 2011 and 2012. The compromise text is available in the conclusions to the SCCR here [pdf]. Intellectual Property Watch coverage leading up to the final day of talks is available here: IPW, WIPO, 12 November 2010. The outcome is weaker than a proposed work plan sponsored by the African and Asian Groups and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries (GRULAC) that was tabled during the week, which had called specifically for text-based negotiations towards an international legal instrument or instruments on exceptions and limitations in a variety of areas, including for people with print or other disabilities, for educational and research institutions, and for libraries and archives. This developing-country supported plan had also called for separate “special sessions” of the SCCR dedicated entirely to those negotiations, and for the next WIPO annual General Assembly to consider the possibility of convening a diplomatic conference on limitations and exceptions for persons with print and other disabilities. Diplomatic conferences are precursors for signing a treaty, which in this case most developing countries want and many developed countries say is unnecessary. The African-Asian-Grulac work plan is available here [doc]. The final text instead calls for “text-based work with the objective of reaching agreement on appropriate exceptions and limitations for persons with print disabilities and other reading disabilities.” And “in a similar manner” for the SCCR to later undertake “text-based work” on exceptions and limitations for libraries, archives, educational, teaching and research institutions, as well as persons with other disabilities. This appears to have mostly come from a set of comments from the Group B of developed countries to the African-Asian-Grulac text. These comments are available here [pdf]. The reference to “other disabilities” came out of an argument about the scope of discussions on print disabilities exceptions and limitations. Non-governmental organisations on the last day issued a communication to delegates asking that all disabilities be considered along with the visually impaired in initial treaty negotiations. The final text does not specifically mention that the next General Assembly consider a diplomatic conference, but it does reiterate in the introduction that the SCCR can recommend to the Assembly that a diplomatic conference be called. There was a separate Group B proposal, available here [pdf], that did not propose extra time either in special sessions or in extra days for exceptions and limitations negotiations but instead said substantive discussions should take place during the course of regular SCCR meetings. But as of the final day of negotiations, delegates were working off the African-Asian-Grulac text, participants said. The committee also agreed that on broadcasting, members can send new proposals for protection of broadcasting organisations (in treaty language) by 1 March and the secretariat will organisation a consultation with members before the next SCCR meeting. On audiovisual performances, the committee reaffirmed its commitment, considering the 19 articles from the treaty negotiation in 2000 a good basis, and invited the secretariat to hold consultations with the aim of developing recommendations, and members were invited to submit proposals in treaty form by 31 January. The next meeting of the SCCR is scheduled for 15-24 June 2011. William New contributed to this report. 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) Related Kaitlin Mara may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO Copyright Committee Agrees To Extra Time On Visually Impaired Access" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.