Regional Seminar on Libraries, Archives, Museums and Educational and Research Institutions in the Field of Copyright

May 9, 2019

Representatives of 32 WIPO member states in the Asia and Pacific Group attended a Regional Seminar on Libraries, Archives, Museums and Educational and Research Institutions in the Field of Copyright.

The April 29–30 event – organized under the Action Plans on Limitations and Exceptions approved during the Standing Committee on Copyright (SCCR/36) and co-hosted by the Government of Singapore at the National Library of Singapore – also drew participant observers from 15 accredited non-governmental and other organizations.

The Seminar aimed to provide an environment for wide-ranging conversations among key stakeholders on the experiences related to any exceptions and limitations used by member states for libraries, archives, museums, and educational and research institutions.

To strike the right balance in our copyright systems, the copyright community must come together, as we have today, to continually 'crowdsource' for solutions.

Daren Tang, Chief Executive, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore

As approved by the SCCR, similar seminars are scheduled in two other regions, namely the African and Latin American and Caribbean regions.

singapore_copyright_seminar_2019_845
(Photo: Singapore Cooperation Programme)

Opening of the Seminar

Daren Tang, Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), and WIPO Deputy Director General Sylvie Forbin opened the proceedings, with each emphasizing the importance of hearing a wide array of viewpoints.

“Through a shared base of knowledge we are setting the groundwork to move forward,” said Ms. Forbin, noting that “WIPO is very pleased that member states and observers have responded so positively in their support of this event and their willingness to engage on the various issues to gain a deeper understanding.” She also reiterated WIPO’s willingness to work closely with delegates and their governments in the quest of promoting their national cultural assets as well as enhancing a balanced copyright framework as a powerful enabler for cultural and economic development.

“To strike the right balance in our copyright systems, the copyright community must come together, as we have today, to continually ‘crowdsource’ for solutions,“ said Mr. Tang. “I hope that this regional seminar will be a wonderful example of such a shared effort.”

Expert views

Four experts, each representing a thematic area of the conference (libraries, archives, museums, and educational and research institutions), provided the seminar with expertise:

“Libraries perform many roles including the protection of collections, facilitation of access to resources and the promotion of cultural heritage,” said Dr. Kenneth D. Crews “within this context, the scope of copyright exceptions and limitations is important and relevant to topics such as the preservation of works, making copies for study and research, and the lending of physical works.”

“What we can already see is a diversity of approaches,” noted Daniel Seng, Associate Professor, National University of Singapore, “in terms of educational institutions that are enabled to utilize works for teaching and research purposes, there are a few Member States that adopt this formulation in their limitations or exceptions; however far more Member States have detailed limitations or exceptions that enable specific aspects of use of works for study, teaching and research purposes.” 

“Museums must consider copyright from many perspectives such as preservation of materials under copyright, and also communication of their activities and promotion of the various exhibitions and collections which may involve duplication of copyright material,” stated Yaniv Benhamou, Lecturer, University of Geneva.

“It is our destiny to find solutions to the copyright issues facing both online and physical educational institutions,” said Raquel Xalabarder, Professor of Law, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

Discussions

The event commenced with a plenary session, followed by sub-regional break-out sessions in which delegates discussed the situation in their countries. Observers were free to join any group and contribute their views and suggestions. This method ensured membersStates and observers all had a “voice” in the event.

Afterwards each sub-regional group (led by Jordan and Lebanon, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore, and the Cook Islands and Tuvalu) were invited to provide a summary to the plenary of their findings, observations and proposals as the outcome of their respective group discussions.

Executive Director of the Intellectual Property Office of Pakistan, Mr. Meesaq Arif, encapsulated a common sentiment among the participants: “We were so excited and encouraged by the discussions during the seminar that we continued the discussions throughout our dinner and well into the night!”