Copyright Limitations for Print Disabled discussed at WIPO

OITP with the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) coordinates US library participation at the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as a Non-governmental body (NGO).  At the 23rd meeting of the SCCR, Lori Driscoll represented the LCA and provided this report.

Report of the 23rd Session of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s

Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights

For the first time, three extra days were scheduled at the beginning of this 23rd meeting of the WIPO SCCR to focus on limitations and exceptions specifically for libraries and archives. For the remainder of the two weeks, Member States discussed a proposal for an international instrument for limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities, agreed on a work plan toward a treaty for the protection of broadcasting organizations, and finalized plans for a diplomatic conference for the protection of audiovisual performances in Beijing, China in 2012.

SCCR/23 provided the library community an unprecedented opportunity to share its knowledge and experience to inform Member States’ discussion of issues relating to copyright for libraries at an international level. Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) representing libraries and archives attended and provided statements in support of the Committee’s work, including the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA).

In addition to the comprehensive proposal from the African Group (SCCR/22/12), three new documents were submitted regarding library issues: 1) The Case for a Treaty on Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives: Background Paper by International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), International Council on Archives (ICA), Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) and INNOVARTE, presented by Brazil (SCCR/23/3); 2) Objectives and Principles for Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives, presented by the United States of America (SCCR/23/4); and 3) the Proposal on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives, presented by Brazil, Ecuador and Uruguay (SCCR/23/5).

Member States concluded with a Provisional working document containing comments on and textual suggestions towards an appropriate international legal instrument (in whatever form) on exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives (SCCR/23/8 Prov.). Topics include the following, as prioritized by Member States:

  1. Preservation
  2. Reproduction and Supply
  3. Legal Deposit
  4. Library Lending
  5. Parallel Importation
  6. Cross-border Uses
  7. Orphan Works, Retracted and Withdrawn Works, Works Out of Commerce
  8. Limited Liability for Libraries and Archives
  9. Technological Protection Measures
  10. Contracts
  11. Right to Translate Works

Further comments from Member States will be accepted until the end of February and will be incorporated into SCCR/23/8 Prov. This provisional document forms the foundation for continued discussion on issues for libraries at the next session, SCCR/24, to be scheduled for July of 2012.

Continuing discussion from the last session, Member States commented on the Chair’s proposal for an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities (SCCR/22/16). These comments were incorporated into a new Working document on an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons/persons with print disabilities. This new document (SCCR/23/7) will constitute the basis for work during the next session. As stated in the session’s Conclusions, the goal is “to agree and finalize a proposal on an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons/persons with print disabilities.”

Discussions about the diplomatic conference for the protection of audiovisual performances occurred outside the purview of the session, so NGOs did not participate and the results were not reported in the session’s Conclusions. China is to consult with the Secretariat over exact dates which will be after 20th June 2012. The next SCCR will follow in July 2012.

Carrie Russell is the Director of the Program on Public Access to Information in the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). Her portfolio includes copyright, international copyright, accessibility, e-books and other public policy issues. She has a MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a MA in media arts from the University of Arizona. She can be reached via e-mail at crussell@alawash.org.

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