eifl[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] The 31st session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright & Related Rights (SCCR), that met in Geneva from 7 to 11 December 2015, had a full agenda that included discussion on the protection of broadcast organizations, limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives, presentation of a study on museums, and two new proposals by member states.

In a proud moment, the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities was ratified by two more countries, bringing the number of ratifications to thirteen. On the downside, there was no agreement to hold regional meetings on libraries and archives.

Highlights of the week

The highlights of the week were discussion of limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives that focused on the chart of topics prepared by the Chair, based on proposals by member states. (The chart is designed to facilitate discussion on the substantive topics without prejudging the outcome of the discussions). At SCCR/31, three topics were considered: reproduction and safeguarding copies, legal deposit and library lending. Read the EIFL statement on Topic 2 Reproduction and safeguarding copies.

With one notable exception, member states from all regions expressed their strong support for libraries and archives and their desire for meaningful progress on the issue.  But on the week that the European Commission unveiled its vision to modernize the EU copyright rules, the EU and its 28 member states managed to not even mention these important developments! Luckily library groups and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue were on hand to correct the omission.

In addition, the WIPO Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Museums was presented by its authors with a Q&A session with delegates.

In a proud moment, the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities was ratified by Australia and by Brazil, the original proponent of the treaty. Brazil became the 13th country to ratify the treaty, that comes into force following 20 ratifications.

New proposals

The Group of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), chaired by Brazil, presented a very interesting proposal for an analysis of copyright related to the digital environment. The objective of the proposal is the pursuit of common solutions for the benefit of society and rights holders. It covers issues such as exhaustion of rights, global licence agreements, limitations and exceptions, interpretation of the three-step test, and fair payment for artists.

In another new proposal, Senegal and Congo requested inclusion of the resale right (droit de suite) on the future work agenda of SCCR. Both proposals will be discussed further at SCCR/32 in May 2016 under the agenda item ‘Other matters’.

Half the week was spent discussing the protection of broadcast organizations, in particular definitions, the object of protection, and rights to be granted. Read the EIFL statement on the object of protection.

No agreement on regional meetings for libraries and archives

The failure, by industrialized countries, to agree to hold regional meetings to discuss libraries and archives was a big disappointment. We believe that member states and stakeholders in the regions should have an opportunity to ask questions, learn and share in order to gain a better understanding of the technical issues, especially those relating to library and archive services in the digital environment. Such regional meetings would help to inform discussions in Geneva. We hope that member states can consider the proposal again at the next session of the committee. After all, how can learning about library developments and copyright really be a bad thing?

Read more