DATE: September 19, 1997
WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION
Geneva, September 17 to 19, 1997
adopted by the Information Meeting
1. In pursuance of the decision taken by the Governing Bodies of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Unions administered by WIPO at the thirtieth Series of Meetings in Geneva, on March 20 and 21, 1997 (see document AB/XXX/4, items 3 and 4), the Director General of WIPO convened an Information Meeting on intellectual property in databases (hereinafter referred to as "the Information Meeting") at the headquarters of WIPO, in Geneva, from September 17 to 19, 1997.
2. Experts of the following 93 States and one intergovernmental organization attended the Information Meeting: Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, and the Commission of the European Communities.
3. Representatives of the following 10 intergovernmental organizations attended the meeting in observer capacity, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), World Health Organization (WHO), Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (AGECOP), Council of Europe (CE), Organization of African Unity (OAU), and World Trade Organization (WTO).
4. Representatives of the following 53 non-governmental organizations attended the meeting in observer capacity: Agence pour la protection des programmes (APP), American Bar Association (ABA), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), American Film Marketing Association (AFMA), Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), Association of European Performers' Organisations (AEPO), Association for the International Collective Management of Audiovisual Works (AGICOA), Business Software Alliance (BSA), Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), Comité "Actores, Intérpretes" (CSAI), Conseil francophone de la chanson (CFC), Copyright Research and Information Center (CRIC), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), European Project-Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB), Groupement européen représentant les organismes de gestion collective des droits des artistes interprètes ou exécutants (ARTIS GEIE), Ibero-Latin-American Federation of Performers (FILAIE), Information Industry Association (IIA), Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), Interamerican Copyright Institute (IIDA), International Affiliation of Writers Guilds (IAWG), International Alliance of Orchestra Associations (IAOA), International Association of Audio-Visual Writers and Directors (AIDAA), International Association of Broadcasting (IAB), International Association for the Protection of Industrial Property (AIPPI), International Bar Association (IBA), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP), International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), International Federation of Actors (FIA), International Federation of Associations of Film Distributors (FIAD), International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), International Federation of Musicians (FIM), International Federation of Newspaper Publishers (FIEJ), International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP), International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO), International Federation of Translators (FIT), International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), International Publishers Association (IPA), International Union Against Cancer (UICC), International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Japan Electronic Industry Development Association (JEIDA), Max-Planck-Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law (MPI), Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe (PEARLE), Software Information Center (SOFTIC), Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), Union of National Radio and Television Organizations of Africa (URTNA) and World Federation of Music Schools (WFMS).
5. The list of participants is attached to this report.
6. A representative of the International Bureau of WIPO welcomed the participants and opened the Information Meeting.
7. Mr. Jukka Liedes (Finland) was unanimously elected Chairman and Mr. Nikolay Khlestov (Russian Federation) and Mr. Coenraad Johannes Visser (South Africa) were unanimously elected Vice-Chairmen of the meeting.
8. Discussions were based on the memoranda prepared by the International Bureau of WIPO, in accordance with the decision mentioned in paragraph 1, entitled:
- Existing national and regional legislation concerning intellectual property in databases (document DB/IM/2); and
- Information received from Member States of WIPO and from the European Community and its Member States concerning intellectual property in databases (documents DB/IM/3 and 3 Add.).
9. The Secretariat noted the interventions made and recorded on tape. The statements made during the debate are reflected in the Annex to this report.
10. The Chairman summarized the discussions as follows: The discussions and the documentation of this information meeting form a rich database of the prevailing opinions and approaches towards a possible system of sui generis protection of databases. All delegations who took the floor emphasized their commitment and stressed their willingness to participate in the work on this important matter. Many delegations stated that they needed more time for study and consultations on national, regional and international level, and they stated that they needed further analysis to assess the need for such a system; furthermore these delegations pleaded for caution and slower pace for international deliberations. The European Community and many of its Member States explained the European legislation on the sui generis protection of databases, reported about their experience and explained their views about the need for this kind of protection. Several delegations expressed that they were not convinced of the need for this kind of protection; many of them, however, said that they would not deny the possible need for some kind of protection for valuable non-original databases. A number of delegations stressed that also the applicability of existing forms of protection should be explored. The importance of free and open access to information was stressed by most delegations, especially in domains of high public interest, such as science, education and national security. The importance of free exchange of scientific data, and especially meteorological data, was also stressed. Many delegations emphasized that if a system of specific protection of databases were established, it should reflect a proper balance between the rights and interests of right owners and the larger public interest, including the science, research and education sectors, and without forgetting the role of libraries.
11. The Chairman further noted that certain questions and aspects or elements of a possible sui generis right that needed to be addressed had been mentioned, including inter alia the following:
He emphasized that the list was not exhaustive and the document to be prepared by the International Bureau would be more comprehensive.
12. The Information Meeting adopted the following recommendation:
(i) the International Bureau, when it makes available the detailed summary of the discussions in the Information Meeting, as a draft annex to the report of the meeting, should add a document summing up, in an analytic table, the questions raised during the Information Meeting;
(ii) the International Bureau in the circular letter by which it will distribute the draft annex and the document mentioned in item (i), above, should invite Member States of WIPO and the European Community, as well as the intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations invited to the Information Meeting, to submit, by the end of April 1998, information concerning the questions included in the above-mentioned document and on any other related questions they may find relevant;
(iii) the International Bureau should make available such information in a concise form, by the end of June 1998, to the Member States of WIPO and the European Community, so as to facilitate consultations on the issues concerning intellectual property in databases at national and regional level, as well as to the organizations mentioned in item (ii), on the understanding that the information received from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations will be made available in the languages in which it is submitted;
(iv) the International Bureau should also send, by the end of September
1998, to the Member States of WIPO and the European Community, as well
as to the organizations mentioned in item (ii), an analytic document summarizing
the information mentioned in item (iii).
13. The Chairman stated the understanding of the Information Meeting that it was up to the competent Governing Bodies of WIPO to take a decision about the convocation of any further WIPO meeting on intellectual property on databases at regional and/or international level, as well as about the preparation and financing of such meetings.
14. The present report was unanimously adopted by the Information Meeting.
15. The Chairman closed the meeting.