Facilitating Access to Culture in the Digital Age - WIPO Global Meeting on Emerging Copyright Licensing Modalities

November 4 and 5, 2010 – WIPO, 34, chemin des Colombettes, Geneva, Room A

The Global Meeting on Emerging Copyright Licensing Modalities will take place on November 4 and 5, 2010, at the WIPO’s headquarters in Geneva. The event is organized in the framework of the Development Agenda Thematic Project on Intellectual Property and Competition Policy . The meeting will gather governments, national and international public institutions, academics and an array of stakeholders involved in different copyright licensing practices. The goal of the meeting is to raise the awareness of Member States on the complexities underlining a vast variety of licensing practices in different sectors, including the online market for music, the software industry and open access publishing. The target topics will be analyzed and discussed from an intellectual property and a competition law perspective.

In early 2009, the third session of the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) agreed upon the need to look at the interface between “Intellectual Property and Competition Policy,” and to promote measures that would help Member States, particularly in developing countries and least developed countries to better understand this interface in order to develop appropriate policies and practices to address intellectual property related anti-competitive practices. While some countries have developed mechanisms to enhance the role of national authorities entrusted with competition policy mandates to deal with IP issues, it has been difficult for some developing countries and countries with economies in transition to assess the importance of this interface.

One key area of interaction between intellectual property (IP) and competition policy relates to licensing agreements between private parties. Licensing is a mechanism used by right-holders to authorize others to use their IP under agreed terms and conditions. Licensing agreements may be concluded for a variety of purposes and represent useful instruments for the transfer of technology between parties, and more generally, for the dissemination of information and communication technologies, creative works and other subject matter protected by IPRs. In copyright for instance, an area of concerns relates to online uses and the ways in which older and newer forms of licensing are increasingly interacting with each other (e.g. the rise of open-access scientific publishing and the development of mixed software platforms, where proprietary and open source software are combined in the same technology or application).

The interaction between territorially-limited licensing practices in the field of collective management of copyright, on the one hand, and global distribution of content in the digital environment, on the other hand, also deserves attention from the viewpoint of competition law.

The global meeting will provide an opportunity for the exchange of national and regional experiences and information on the interplay between copyright and competition policies, examining, among others, licensing practices flowing from different business and management models and the compatibility between traditional licenses and emerging forms of licensing in the new technological environment.

With a view to identify actual problems and potential solutions the program will cover current issues of compelling economic importance such as the competitive impact of territorially-limited versus multi-jurisdictional licenses; the connection between access to knowledge and different licensing models; the development of national strategies in regard to IP and competition law; clearance of orphan works and public sector information and the possible role of WIPO with in regard to the issues at stake.

The topics in the program will be addressed from the perspective of business, legal practice and policy development.

The event was open to the general public and free of charge. The podcast of the entire Conference is available.