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Member States Consider Future Work of Copyright Committee

Geneva, March 13, 2008

Member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) agreed this week on elements of a program of work for the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). Meeting from March 10-12, 2008, the SCCR decided that it would continue to address issues such as the protection of broadcasting organizations and the protection of audiovisual performances, as well as exceptions and limitations.
The SCCR decided to continue discussions on the protection of broadcasting organizations with a view to concluding an international instrument.  Following two special sessions of the SCCR in 2007, while progress was made towards better understanding of the positions of the various stakeholders, negotiators concluded that further work to achieve agreement on objectives, specific scope and object of protection was required before convening a diplomatic conference.
Delegates were briefed on regional and national activities that were being undertaken by the WIPO secretariat to build understanding on the issue of the protection of audiovisual performances. The secretariat will continue to organize national and regional activities on this issue and an information meeting will be held on this question in conjunction with the next meeting of the SCCR. A diplomatic conference convened in 2000 with the objective of updating the rights of audiovisual performers at the international level concluded with no agreement.
The SCCR also considered a proposal from Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua, and Uruguay on limitations and exceptions. This was an elaborated version of a proposal originally submitted to the SCCR by Chile in 2005, which called for an analysis of limitations and exceptions as they relate to education, libraries and access to protected works by the visually-impaired. The SCCR called for the organization of an information meeting on existing and forthcoming studies on exceptions and limitations at its next session with a view to preparing a comprehensive work plan on the issue. 
To further enhance understanding of the issue, the SCCR requested that a study be undertaken by the secretariat on exceptions and limitations in relation to educational activities and distance education, including transborder aspects. WIPO has already undertaken three studies on exceptions and limitations, namely, the WIPO Study on Limitations and Exceptions of Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital EnvironmentWIPO Study on Automated Rights Management Systems and Copyright Limitations and Exceptions, and the WIPO Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired. The need for prompt action to improve access to protected works by visually impaired people was emphasized by several delegations. A fourth study on exceptions and limitations for libraries will also be published shortly. 
In the framework of a specific discussion on the future work of the Committee, a proposal for inclusion of additional agenda items - artist's resale right, collective management, orphan works and applicable law - was submitted by several delegations.  Many delegations called on the SCCR “to tackle and accelerate” work on unfinished business. Others called for the SCCR to focus on exceptions and limitations as a priority. The Chairman of the SCCR, Mr. Jukka Liedes of Finland, said that consideration of the work plan for the Committee would continue during the next session of the SCCR. 
At its opening session, the SCCR also elected Mr. Abdellah Ouadrhiri of Morocco and Mr. Luis Villarroel Villalon of Chile, as Vice Chairs.
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