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Member States Continue Discussions on Key Copyright Issues

Geneva, November 12, 2010

WIPO’s top copyright negotiating body this week continued discussions on limitations and exceptions to copyright law, as well as updating the rights of broadcasting organizations and the rights of performers in their audiovisual performances.  The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), meeting from November 8-12, 2010, took stock of the status of discussions in each of these three key areas and agreed on a road map for future negotiations. 

Limitations and Exceptions 

The SCCR agreed on a work plan relating to limitations and exceptions for the 2011/12 biennium, which recognized that progress in certain areas was more advanced.  A concluding statement said “Recognizing the need to advance the more mature areas, the Committee will undertake text-based work with the objective of reaching agreement on appropriate exceptions and limitations for persons with print disabilities and other reading disabilities.”  The statement added “In a similar manner, the Committee will undertake text-based work on appropriate exceptions and limitations for libraries, archives, educational, teaching and research institutions, and persons with other disabilities.”

A proposal for a treaty (based on text prepared by the World Blind Union) relating to exceptions and limitations for print-disabled persons was submitted by Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico 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.

The SCCR will submit recommendations to the 2011 WIPO General Assembly on exceptions and limitations for persons with print disabilities and other reading disabilities.  In a similar manner, the Committee will undertake to submit recommendations to the 2012 General Assembly on limitations and exceptions for libraries, archives, educational, teaching and research institutions, and persons with other disabilities. 

Protection of audiovisual performances 

The SCCR continued discussions on the protection of audiovisual performances, with a number of delegations reiterating the need to accelerate the negotiations and noting that the 19 articles provisionally adopted in 2000 are 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 SCCR “invited member states to submit, by January 31, 2011, written proposals, if possible in treaty language, to address the outstanding issues from the 2000 Diplomatic Conference as well as on any additional or alternative elements for a draft treaty.”  WIPO will also organize informal open-ended consultations among SCCR members to examine the new proposals, with a view to making recommendations to the next session of the Committee. The final statement said “these recommendations should include a timetable for concluding the negotiations.” 

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.   

Protection of broadcasting organizations

The SCCR reaffirmed its commitment to continue work, on a signal-based approach, towards developing an international treaty to update the protection of broadcasting and cablecasting organizations in the traditional sense. The final statement said “Members of the Committee are invited to present new proposals on the protection of the broadcasting organisations by March 1, 2011, if possible in treaty language, in addition to the proposals contained in the document SCCR 15/2 rev, to form the basis of the preparation of a new draft treaty.” 

The SCCR requested WIPO to organize, before the 22nd Session of the SCCR in June 2011, an informal consultation meeting of members, involving technical experts, “to clarify outstanding technical and technological issues, relevant for the updated protection of the broadcasting organisations in the traditional sense, by following the signal-based approach.” The secretariat will prepare a list of issues based on the 2007 mandate of the General Assembly, with regard to the objectives, specific scope and object of protection. Under the agreement, the June 2011 SCCR session would agree on a timetable on future work which would take into account any new proposals. 

Delegates also examined the third part of a study on the socio-economic impact of the unauthorized use of signals in the broadcasting sector. 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. 

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