The Changing Copyright Climate And WIPO: Interview With IPOS Chief Executive Daren Tang 02/05/2018 by Catherine Saez, 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)The copyright committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization is meeting at the end of May with some complex issues on the agenda that may see new approaches for moving them forward, including the protection of broadcasting organisations, and limitations and exceptions to copyright for certain actors such as libraries and archives. Daren Tang, the chair of the committee, and chief executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), recently engaged in an interview with Intellectual Property Watch‘s Catherine Saez, providing his insights on the discussions, changes in the world affecting copyright, and what to expect of the next session of the committee. The 36th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) will take place from 28 May to 1 June. IP-WATCH (IPW): Can you provide some broad perspective on the work of the SCCR? Mr Daren Tang DAREN TANG HENG SHIM (TANG): Having been Chair for two sessions of the SCCR, and being in the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore – which is leading Singapore’s domestic copyright review – I think there are several things happening right now that impact on the work of the SCCR. Copyright remains the IP right which has the most impact on the largest number of people, because copyright impacts our lives on a daily basis. We are living in a world where content is created and consumed digitally, and this is only going to increase. So I think the work of the SCCR is of deep importance and relevance to our fellow citizens. At the same time, the copyright system is facing a lot of changes because the way we consume and create content is moving online. A lot of the business models in this area have been or will be disrupted. For example, in the area of music, new models and platforms such as iTunes and Spotify have emerged. In other areas with other types of content, new models are also appearing, like Netflix. Beyond society and industry, there are also changes at the geopolitical level that have an impact on the dynamics of international meetings. My sense from chairing the SCCR is that consensus is still achievable, but it will take time. Perhaps the pace at which we can move things at the international level, because of all these changes, may be different from what we have come to expect from our experience in previous decades. Another interesting development is the increasing participation of developing regions and economies in the global copyright system. For example, when I was growing up in Singapore, a lot of the content we consumed was from developed jurisdictions in the West. Now, a Singaporean teenager is as likely to listen to a K-pop band as they are to Beyoncé. In the film industry, “Bollywood” [from India] and “Nollywood” [from Nigeria] have joined Hollywood as big content creators. So developing countries and regions are now becoming big content creators. When all these trends meet and form the backdrop of the SCCR, they create substantial challenges for us, so a lot of hard work and goodwill will be required in order for us to find consensus and move the agenda along. IPW: Would you agree with those saying there is a growing discrepancy between the normative work and technological progress? TANG: The advance of science and technology and the pace at which it is developing is affecting everyone – governments, industries and our citizens. Looking for instance at the broadcasting treaty discussion, one of the issues is the extent to which deferred transmissions should be protected under the treaty. [Editor’s note: Deferred transmission refers to a rebroadcasting at a later time than the original broadcast, including on-demand transmissions by viewers.] The deferred transmission issue is really an issue of how the industry is developing in different ways in different parts of the world, and how the industry itself has new players and new stakeholders, including technological companies and content delivery platforms. If you look at the music arena, and how iTunes and Spotify were able to invent new business models for delivering content, it is a case where industry has taken the lead. In some areas industry will continue taking the lead; in other areas, governments will at some point in time put together a framework that guides the overall development of that industry. IPW: Some have raised the question of the ownership of comments posted on social networks, such as Facebook or YouTube. Should this be regulated from the copyright point of view? TANG: For many of the people using social networks, convenience and the ability to be connected and be in a community gave them the impetus to join the platform. And once the platforms reach a certain size and have an impact, it is natural to start thinking about whether some form of regulation is needed. While this issue has not been formally put before the SCCR yet, there is a certain pathway through which issues are raised – first at the social level, then the national level, and then at the international level. So I do think that some of these issues that thoughtful, forward-thinking members of the copyright community are reflecting on will in time make their way into the national agenda, and in turn the international agenda. Coming back to the SCCR, one other challenge is that IP is becoming more and more connected to other issues, where they take on a cross-agency aspect and need to be discussed across different parts of the UN family. With all these challenges facing us at the SCCR, I hope that Singapore can be a bridge between north and south, and east and west, and add value to the discussions by being a neutral, credible and professional Chair. That is the value we hope to bring to the table. IPW: Can you explain the major changes in the revised consolidated text [pdf] on the protection of broadcasting organisations? TANG: The text was divided into three sections, A, B and C. Part A reflected the work that had been done in discussions prior to SCCR 33 [November 2016], and parts B and C reflected the proposals put forward as a result of SCCR 34 [May 2017]. When we then met at SCCR 35 [November 2017], we wanted to reflect proposals that could lead us to consensus. A number of comments were made that the Part C was not as helpful as it could have been because it reflected the proposals submitted after SCCR 34. Since we had a good discussion at SCCR 35 on Parts A and B, we decided to drop Part C, to keep the revised consolidated text as streamlined as possible It was more an attempt to do a bit of housekeeping. IPW: Could you please define the different points of views on the different proposed articles, major sticking points? TANG: There are a couple of issues that have popped up time and again. The issue of deferred transmission, and the scope of this deferred transmission that should be covered in the treaty is a key issue on which there are different points of view. There is also the issue of pre-broadcasting, on whether protection should extend to signals which are transmitted through the broadcasting organisation by another entity prior to the actual broadcast. Another issue is limitations and exceptions – namely, whether they should be broad and open-ended but subject to the three-step test, or whether should they be clearly spelled out in the treaty. IPW: What about limitations and exceptions to copyright for libraries and archives, educational and research institutions? TANG: One of the issues relating to limitations and exceptions was the draft action plans. Members wanted the Chair to be involved in drafting them, and there were requests for them to be sent more in advance of the meeting. I have been working with the Secretariat on this, and we should be able to circulate the new draft action plans quite shortly, which will give more time for delegates to consider them. IPW: What do you expect of the next session of the SCCR? TANG: Given the complexities I mentioned earlier on, let us acknowledge that we have to deal with issues that are not simple or straightforward. But with the cooperation of Members, the support of my two Vice-Chairs, Karol and Aziz [Karol Kościński and Abdoul Aziz Dieng], as well as of the Secretariat, I hope to provide an environment where we can push these issues as far as possible. IPW: Thank you. Note: Some background information from Intellectual Property Watch on the issues discussed in the context of the broadcasting treaty is available here (IPW, WIPO, 8 February 2017) and here (IPW, WIPO, 9 February 2017). Image Credits: IPOS 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 Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."The Changing Copyright Climate And WIPO: Interview With IPOS Chief Executive Daren Tang" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.