[Catherine Saez for IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] As the ratification by the European Union of an international treaty creating an exception to copyright for visually impaired people nears, a leaked text shows that the directive implementing the treaty in the EU might come with safeguards limiting the scope of the treaty, allegedly pushed by the publishing industry.
[Joint Statement] On Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th January, representatives of European governments will discuss draft legislation to implement the Marrakesh Treaty in the European Union (EU).
As IFLA and partner organisations have underlined, this is an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people with print disabilities – who cannot pick up and read a book in the same way as everyone else – both in Europe and beyond.
We are, however, aware of efforts to undermine the impact of Marrakesh. This will happen if national governments can oblige libraries and others to pay fees to publishers for making use of their Marrakesh rights, or if they are subject to additional, unnecessary, registration or record-keeping requirements. Both IFLA and EIFL have highlighted the risks of such moves.
[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] EIFL joined a 13-strong team representing the world’s libraries, archives and museums advocating for an international treaty for fair access to knowledge at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR/33), which met in Geneva from 14-18 November 2016.
EIFL was represented at SCCR/33 by Copyright and Libraries Programme Manager, Teresa Hackett, and Pratyush Nath Upreti of Upreti & Associates in Nepal. In this blog, Teresa Hackett presents a round-up of the busy week at WIPO:
[Electronic information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] EIFL has compiled a booklet of statements made by librarians and archivists representing thousands of institutions at sessions of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR).
Titled ‘The internet is global – but copyright exceptions stop at the border. Why we need an international treaty for cross-border access to knowledge’, the booklet includes statements by library and archive organizations made at WIPO SCCR sessions in April 2014, June 2014 and May 2016. WIPO is the main body that sets international copyright law.
Abstract: The 2016-2017 biennium marks the historical milestones of several major pro-development initiatives relating to intellectual property law and policy. These important milestones include the Intellectual Property Conference of Stockholm in 1967, the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development (UNDRD) in 1986 and the establishment of the WIPO Development Agenda in 2007.
On January 1, 2016, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also came into force. Adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development featured 17 SDGs and 169 targets. Prominently mentioned in Target 3.b of SDG 3 are the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.
Catherine Saez for IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)
The age of digitisation has opened new doors to distribution of information including for libraries and archives. However, librarians and archivists are often confronted with risk of liability for copyright infringement, nationally and in cross-border activities. This week, they asked the World Intellectual Property Organization copyright committee to provide them not only with some exceptions to copyright, but with protection against liability.
The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is taking place from 14-18 November. On the SCCR agenda is copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives. On 17 November, librarians and archivists took the floor to explain why an international standard protecting them against liability is indispensable.
[WIPO Press Release] The World Intellectual Property Organization today announced its new Open Access policy to promote the widest possible public access to its publications, furthering the Organization’s commitment to the dissemination and sharing of knowledge.
[Cross posted from IP-Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA] The supposedly impossible happened: The Marrakesh Treaty entered into force on 30 September, three months after reaching the necessary minimum of 20 ratifications. By then, 22 countries had done so – two more did so during the Marrakesh Assembly. It is the first Treaty to recognize beyond any shadow of doubt that the limitations are essential parts of the copyright system, necessary to its balance and even survival, and, as put by WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, the Marrakesh Treaty “can now begin boosting the number of specially adapted texts for the benefit of blind and otherwise print-disabled people around the world.”
Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)
EIFL marked the inaugural Assembly of the Marrakesh Treaty for print disabled people with a statement congratulating member states, civil society, and the many individuals who worked tirelessly to achieve this historic Treaty, which entered into force on 30 September 2016. The inaugural Assembly of the Marrakesh Treaty took place on 5 October during the 2016 WIPO General Assemblies – WIPO’s highest decision-making bodies – in Geneva (Switzerland).
The other important agenda item for EIFL at the 2016 WIPO General Assemblies concerned the future work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). In relation to this item, EIFL presented a statement calling for an international treaty to support libraries’ public service mission.
Teresa Hackett, Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)
On 30th September 2016, the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities enters into force. The treaty is a game-changer for people who are blind or partially sighted, as well as for libraries that serve people with print disabilities. From now on, in all countries that are party to the treaty, accessible format copies such as Braille, audio, digital and large print can be made on-demand and shared across borders, enabling institutions such as libraries to serve all their users equally – same book, same day. This is because the treaty mandates the making of accessible format copies and sharing across borders, without having to seek permission from rightsholders. In a nutshell, print disabled people can no longer be denied access to books and other reading materials in alternative formats due to copyright restrictions.
International Federation of Library Associations, Link (CC-BY)
The signing of the Treaty of Marrakesh in 2013 was a first step towards providing access to knowledge for some of the most vulnerable in society. It offers a response to the book famine that people with print disabilities have long faced. However, IFLA is concerned that when ratifying the Treaty, some countries risk introducing new barriers to access. This is completely contrary to the spirit of Marrakesh.
China joins the ranks of the world’s 25 most-innovative economies, while Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Finland and Singapore lead the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index, released today by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
China’s top-25 entry marks the first time a middle-income country has joined the highly developed economies that have historically dominated the top of the Global Innovation Index (GII) throughout its nine years of surveying the innovative capacity of 100-plus countries across the globe. China’s progression reflects the country’s improved innovation performance as well as methodological considerations such as improved innovation metrics in the GII.