WIPO Member States Consider how to Facilitate Access to Educational Materials

Geneva, November 22, 2005
Press Releases PR/2005/430

Member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) examined on Monday, the impact of the copyright system on the use of protected works for educational purposes in both the analog and digital environments, particularly in developing countries. The meeting took place at the beginning of deliberations by the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) which is being held in Geneva from November 21 to 23, 2005.

Copyright law, like other forms of intellectual property law, recognizes that restrictions or limitations in the rights granted to authors and holders of other related rights are justified in certain cases that do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the protected material and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the rightholders. In relation to education, certain permitted uses are defined which remove liability that would otherwise arise. Digital technology has revolutionized the way in which creative works, including educational materials, are made, delivered and used with important implications for copyright. The information meeting provided an opportunity to examine the varying perspectives of the different stakeholders and served as a forum for delegates to discuss and exchange experiences on the opportunities and challenges presented by the copyright system within the context of education, especially within developing countries.

"The digital environment presents enormous opportunities and challenges in terms of delivering educational materials in a sustainable manner, said Mrs. Rita Hayes, WIPO Deputy Director General in charge of copyright issues. "Today's meeting was an excellent opportunity to look at the dissemination of teaching materials through balanced and effective copyright systems that meet the needs of all stakeholders; authors, publishers, libraries and educational services", she added.

The program included presentations from a group of high-level experts from academia, libraries, collective management societies and the publishing sectors. Presentations covered a range of issues, including, the challenges facing educators and libraries particularly in developing countries; the need to foster development of the indigenous publishing sector in developing countries; the role of reproduction rights organizations; licensing mechanisms, including alternative licensing systems (such as the creative commons and open access models) to facilitate the flow of educational materials in developing countries; and the national experiences of Chile and Canada in devising copyright exceptions for education. Details of the program are available at: https://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=9462. Presentations and audiofiles will be available from https://www.wipo.int in the near future.

The SCCR will continue discussion of other copyright related issues. The program and documents are available at https://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=9289.

For further information, please contact the Media Relations and Public Affairs Section at WIPO:

  • Tel: (+41 22) - 338 81 61 or 338 95 47
  • Fax: (+41 22) - 338 82 80
  • Email: publicinf@wipo.int.