May 052017

World Intellectual Property Organization
34th Meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights
May 5, 2017

Chair: I would like to support that aspect of the GRUAC proposal that focuses on the role of limitations and exceptions in the digital environment as a top priority for this committee.

There is an increasing recognition that so-called non-expressive uses – uses necessary for technological processes that do not compete with the copyright owner – are necessary to enable the internet and the services that are offered over it.

We at American university have been doing studies that suggest that the presence of open exceptions for technological processes isrelated to investment and growth of local digital technologies. Countries with more open exceptions do better at attracting investments in fields such as software engineering.

We cannot have local streaming services without local buffering rights.

We cannot have local search, artificial intelligence, machine learning, text and data mining, and internet based translation services without local rights to use whole works for purposes that do not compete with the original.

Only a small number of countries around the world provide the clear limitations and exceptions in these areas. And only a small number of countries have robust industries in related fields. But all these services are international by nature, and therefore the lack of harmonization of enabling rights is increasingly perceived as a barrier to trade.

As the experts note, the EU has taken a step in the right direction that can serve as a model in this regard – creating a mandatory exception for certain technological uses in the INFOSOC directive.

That model is not perfect. Many digital innovations I have mentioned use entire works on a basis that might not be viewed as temporary. Nonetheless, the concept that we need a mandatory exception in this regard to facilitate cross border digital trade is salient, and should guide this committee.

Thank you.