World Intellectual Property Organization
34th Meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights
May 3, 2017

Chair: You and I are from countries that have educational exceptions that are open to the use of any work, for any education related activity or purpose, and by any user —  subject to a fairness test that takes into account the rights of authors and rights holders.

This openness in the exceptions environment enables innovations that promote access to learning materials, including through new technologies and over the internet.

Tomorrow at a side meeting over lunch, Communia and American University will be presenting the outcomes of different research projects that examine the operation of user rights in practice. That research shows that wealthy countries are developing openness in these factors much more quickly and thoroughly than poorer countries currently. But the research also shows that this is not a developing country problem alone. Many wealthy countries as well lack exceptions that allow such basic practices as showing a movie, streaming a video or performing a play in a classroom setting. These problems are compounded when we deliver educational products across borders through distance learning.

A lack of harmonization on these issues will produce a race to the bottom where teachers like myself are forced to not deliver the best materials possible for our students because of the lack of rights to do so in some countries.

I would encourage the process going forward to focus on the value of educational exceptions that
cover all:

  • Works,
  • Apply to all users, and that
  • Extend to a full range of activities,

Thank you.