Member States Discuss Key Copyright Issues

Geneva, June 25, 2010

WIPO’s top copyright negotiating body this week discussed better access to copyright-protected works for the blind, visually impaired (VIP) and other reading-disabled persons, as well as updating the rights of broadcasting organizations.  The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), meeting from June 21-24, 2010 also reviewed the status of discussions on updating the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances, calling for concrete proposals to advance negotiations. 

A proposal for a treaty (based on text prepared by the World Blind Union) relating to exceptions and limitations for print-disabled persons was first submitted in May 2009 by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay.    An additional three proposals have been tabled by the African Group, the European Union and the United States of America.  All of these proposals aim at creating an enabling legal environment for better access to copyright-protected works for reading impaired persons.
Delegates noted progress in implementing practical measures to facilitate access to copyright-protected materials by reading-impaired persons.   These include the ongoing work of the stakeholders’ platform and the recent launch of an on-line forum,, to broaden awareness and stimulate debate on this issue.
WIPO’s firm commitment to accessibility issues was further demonstrated by the fact that the Committee’s deliberations were transcribed and transmitted in real time captioning to allow the hearing impaired to follow the deliberations. This is the first time such a service has been made available at WIPO. 
The SCCR continued discussions on the protection of audiovisual performances, with a number of delegations urging an acceleration of the negotiations and noting that the 19 articles provisionally adopted in 2000 provided a good basis for further talks. 
In 2000 a diplomatic conference on the protection of performers in their audiovisual performances made significant progress with provisional agreement on 19 of the 20 articles under negotiation. Negotiators at the time did not agree on whether or how a treaty on performers’ rights should deal with the transfer of rights from the performer to the producer. 
The adoption of a new instrument would strengthen the position of performers in the audiovisual industry by providing a clearer legal basis for the international use of audiovisual works, both in traditional media and in digital networks.  Such an instrument would also contribute to safeguarding the rights of performers against the unauthorized use of their performances in audiovisual media, such as television, film and video.  
Discussions also focused on the protection of broadcasting organizations. Delegates examined the first and second parts of a study on the socio-economic impact of the unauthorized use of signals in the broadcasting sector .  The third part of the study as well as an analysis of the main conclusions of the three studies will be made available at the next session of the SCCR. Delegations took note of on-going regional seminars to ascertain views on the objectives, scope and object of protection of a possible draft treaty following a signal‑based approach.  

During a late night discussion, agreed language for final conclusions proved elusive. Member states had divergent views on the wording for future work on the scope of an international instrument relating to exceptions and limitations, and on whether and when informal consultations should take place on the protection of broadcasting organizations. Discussion on all these issues will continue at the next session of the SCCR from November 8 to 12, 2010. 


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