SCCR/41: COMMUNIA Statement on Limitations and Exceptions

RP-F-2000-21-1
How can a country solve this issue alone?
Licentie

This week COMMUNIA is attending the 41st session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), in its observer capacity.

This is the second time the Committee meets since the beginning of the pandemic. In November last year, we urged the Committee to take appropriate action to respond to the massive disruption to education, research and other public interest activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no Delegations put forward any proposal, and we left the SCCR disappointed at WIPO’s inaction in the face of this global crisis. 

Today, most Delegations expressed their agreement to a proposal to hold a number of regional consultations “to further develop the understanding of the situation of the cultural and educational and research institutions at the local level, especially in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on them”. Furthermore, a proposal by the Asia-Pacific Group, to hold an informational session at the next SCCR on the impact of COVID-19 on all the beneficiaries of the copyright system, was also well received.

Global South countries insisted, nevertheless, that the next steps for the agenda items on limitations and exceptions to copyright should not be limited to those consultations and information sessions. Many Delegations recalled the 2012 mandate to work towards “an appropriate international legal instrument”, and urged the Committee to set a work plan to fulfill the mandate.

The following is the statement made on behalf of COMMUNIA on the agenda item on limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and for persons with other disabilities (Agenda Item 7):

Continue reading

SCCR/41: COMMUNIA Statement on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations

Actors engaging in a fight on the sea-shore.
Again: no rights without exceptions!
Licentie

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 41st session of the Committee, which is taking place in a hybrid format of in-person and online participation from 28 June and 1 July 2021.

The first day of the event was dedicated to discuss the protection of broadcasting organizations, and several delegations shared their dissatisfaction with the fact that informal discussions on the text of the draft broadcast treaty had taken place without ensuring the participation of a diversity of delegations. The SCCR Chair invited to these meetings only to the so-called “Friends of the Chair”, which include Argentina, Colombia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, and the United States of America. Civil society observers joined Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, South Africa and Chile in their ask for greater transparency and inclusivity.

The following is the statement made on behalf of COMMUNIA on this agenda item (Agenda Item 5):

Continue reading

SCCR/40: COMMUNIA Statement on Limitations and Exceptions

The Doctor's Dream
15 years and a pandemic later: are we there yet?
Licentie

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 40th session of the Committee, which is taking place in a hybrid format of in-person and online participation from 16 to 20 November 2020.

The following is the statement made on behalf of Communia on limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and for persons with other disabilities (Agenda Item 7):

This Committee has been discussing the issue of copyright exceptions for almost 15 years. During this time, a number of studies were conducted and we learned that many countries fail to guarantee the right to use protected content for education, research and other legitimate purposes.

Still, reaching a common ground for exceptions was not a priority for all. Progress was limited even though we were seeing a clear trend towards cross-border uses, taking place online. 

Now, that state of affairs could be acceptable before the massive disruption to society caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But over the last six months those cross-border online uses have become the new normal. 

All over the world, institutions are opting for remote formats or hybrid models of in-person and online access and use of content. And we may never go back to the way things were, namely for education, where we now have teachers and students working from home, often located in different Member States, and having to deal with a fragmented treatment of exceptions across those locations.

We understand that Northern countries prefer to negotiate bilaterally with developing countries. In our opinion, this perpetuates an unbalanced power relationship between the Global North and the Global South.

This forum can provide more transparency and legitimacy to these discussions. We thus urge you to not leave your mandate unfulfilled. 

In the Report on Regional Seminars and International Conference on Limitations and Exceptions, prepared by the Secretariat, we can find something for everyone’s taste. Now it’s up to this Committee to set priorities for its work. 

We urge the Committee to respond to the pandemic with a declaration or resolution to assert the flexibilities that exist; then work on model laws and on a binding solution for cross-border uses; and eventually discuss a minimum set of mandatory exceptions.

Thank you.

SCCR/40: COMMUNIA Statement on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations

Parisiens en train d'etudier la question turque
No perpetual rights, no rights without exceptions!
Licentie

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 40th session of the Committee, which is taking place in a hybrid format of in-person and online participation from 16 to 20 November 2020.

The following is the statement made on behalf of Communia on the protection of broadcasting organizations (Agenda Item 5):

We understand that the draft of the Broadcasting Treaty gives broadcasters perpetual rights over public domain and freely licensed content, which is extremely problematic for users. 

Without this extra layer of rights, these works can be used without restriction, and this freedom should be maintained. 

In addition, we are concerned that the current proposal for exceptions only gives countries the option to extend already existing exceptions to broadcasting signals. Obviously, countries can choose not to exercise that option, and if they opt not to, the Treaty will be creating new obstacles to access to culture and information. 

Exceptions are essential to achieve a balance between the interests of the broadcasting organizations and the public interest. The vision that supra-national instruments should only mandate the introduction of new rights, without imposing adequate exceptions, is outdated and turns a blind eye to the fact that copyright can prevent the exercise of fundamental freedoms. 

It is about time for this Committee to align itself with the knowledge produced by its academics and by its courts, which have over and over again referred to the need for a balanced view of copyright.

The Treaty should include a broad provision like the one contained in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which makes it mandatory for each Party to provide an appropriate balance in its copyright system, including by means of exceptions for legitimate purposes. In addition, it should have a minimum set of mandatory exceptions, namely for the uses already required by other copyright treaties.

Thank you.

SCCR/39: COMMUNIA Statement on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations

Vergaan van het schip de Vrijheid
Do not create new obstacles to access to culture and knowledge
Licentie

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 39th session of the Committee, which is taking place in Geneva from 21 to 25 October 2019.

The following is the statement made on behalf of COMMUNIA on the agenda item on the protection of broadcasting organizations (Agenda Item 7):

I’m speaking on behalf of COMMUNIA, an association that works to protect and defend the public domain and users’ rights.

We understand that the current proposal of the Broadcasting Treaty gives broadcasters perpetual rights over content that is not subject to copyright and content that is subject to non-exclusive free licenses, such as Creative Commons licenses. We find this extremely problematic for users.

In addition, the proposal for exceptions in the Chair’s text provides narrower exceptions to protect users than exist for copyrighted works. The draft text says countries “may” extend the same exceptions that exist for copyright, but, obviously, countries can choose not to do this.

This adds new international law restrictions on the adoption of limitations and exceptions for parties to the Rome Convention. This is also more restrictive than the Berne Convention, which has mandatory exceptions for news of the day and quotations, and permissive exceptions for educational and other uses.

The exceptions provisions in the Broadcasting Treaty are particularly important, and different from the issues covered in the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty and Beijing Treaty, because they could add a layer of rights clearance upon copyrighted content.

In order to avoid creating new obstacles to access to culture, knowledge and information, mandatory exceptions and limitations should be adopted. In addition, no rights should be placed on works that are in the public domain or that are openly licensed.

SCCR/39: COMMUNIA Statement on Limitations and Exceptions

Putti spelen op een wip
Individual laws cannot fix cross-border uses
Licentie

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 39th session of the Committee, which is taking place in Geneva from 21 to 25 October 2019.

The following is the opening statement made on behalf of COMMUNIA on limitations and exceptions (agenda items 5 and 6):

I’m speaking on behalf of COMMUNIA, an association that works to protect the public domain and the users’ rights.

We would like to start by thanking WIPO for advancing the work on the Action Plans and for convening the regional and international events. Although we would have appreciated if these events would have provided space for more practitioners to share their concerns, in order to ensure a better representation of all stakeholders, we are pleased to see that there was wide agreement as to the need to have exceptions to support public interest activities.

We understand that some Member States believe these exceptions shall be designed solely at a national level. At the events that took place this year there was not always a chance for the participants to engage in discussions of international solutions, and that might be misunderstood as a lack of will to work towards such solutions. However, we have heard today many countries saying they do want WIPO to act.

Let’s not forget that individual solutions cannot provide an adequate framework for uses that take place online and across borders. Without an international solution, educators, researchers and other practitioners will continue facing obstacles when working together in various countries at the same time, which is something they do on a daily basis.

Finally, we would like to highlight that we agree with the understanding that exceptions and licensing-solutions should coexist. We believe that a balanced copyright system is able to protect fundamental needs through exceptions, while still leaving plenty of space to rightholders to license uses that go beyond those needs. One does not, and should not, replace the other. Rightholders and civil society members seem to agree on that basic principle, despite their divergences. What we need now is to have Member States reassuring these groups that it is possible to protect both interests, without nullifying exceptions through licenses and without exempting uses that would have an unjustified market impact.

This being said, we urge this committee to continue discussions towards a binding international solution.

SCCR/38: COMMUNIA General Statement on Exceptions and Limitations

Karikatuur van Franse censoren
Minimum access and use rights should be defined by public rules
Licentie

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 38th session of the Committee, which is taking place in Geneva from 1 to 5 April 2019.

The following is the general statement made today by Teresa Nobre on Limitations and Exceptions (Agenda Items 7 and 8):

I’m speaking on behalf of COMMUNIA, an international association that works to protect and strengthen the public domain and users’ rights.

We believe that there is a minimum set of access and use rights that should be defined by public rules, since they are justified by public interests. If copyright laws do not grant to the education and research communities, the cultural heritage institutions, and the persons with disabilities the same level of protection that is granted to rightsholders, and defer to private agreements the regulation of all uses of copyrighted materials, they perpetuate an unbalanced power structure and let rightsholders weaken or undermine what should be a public policy decision.

Private agreements are important in any market, but they should coexist with – and not replace – exceptions. Agreements are not appropriate to harmonize the legal framework for uses of copyrighted works, because the terms and conditions of licenses vary widely, and they are not available for every material in every country. There are countless copyrighted works in existence and the large majority of creators is not interested in licensing their works (only a small class of professional creators is offering their works for licensing). Thus, it is impossible to offer meaningful solutions to users through private agreements only.

In order to have a minimum set of rules that are applied uniformly by every Member State and have a cross-border effect we need an international law.

The ongoing reform in the European Union should be enough for this forum to understand that agreeing on minimum standards is possible, while still taking into account local specificities.

Thank you.

Continue reading

SCCR/37: COMMUNIA general statement on exceptions and limitations

Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights
Let us converge and harmonise laws
Licentie

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, we are attending the 37th session of the Committee, which is taking place in Geneva from 26 to 30 November 2018.

The following is the general statement made by Teresa Nobre on Limitations and Exceptions (Agenda Items 6 and 7):

Continue reading

SCCR/37: COMMUNIA statement on the protection of broadcasting organizations

A woman shouting into a man's ear-trumpet. Wood engraving.
No new rights without exceptions
Licentie

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, we are attending the 37th session of the Committee, which is taking place in Geneva from 26 to 30 November 2018.

The following is the statement made by Teresa Nobre on our behalf on agenda item 5: Protection of Broadcasting Organizations.Continue reading

SCCR/36: COMMUNIA statement on educational and research exceptions

Karikatuur van Franse censoren
Action plans have to bring evidence to the table
Licentie

In our capacity of permanent observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, we have been attending the 36th session of the Committee, which is taking place in Geneva from 28 May to 1 June 2018.

The following is the statement made by Teresa Nobre on our behalf on agenda item 7 (Limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and for persons with other disabilities):

I’m speaking on behalf of COMMUNIA International Association on the Digital Public Domain.

We would like to start by thanking all the delegates for demonstrating their support for education throughout this SCCR. We would also like to thank the Chair for preparing the Draft Action Plan, and we have 2 suggestions to make regarding the planned actions.

The first is on the typology. We welcome the Chair’s proposal to synthesize, organise and classify the information contained in the study performed by Prof. Seng, and we would be pleased to offer our advice to the Chair in the development of the proposed typology.

At COMMUNIA we have been mapping educational exceptions for several years now, and we have created a template that breaks down the different provisions into their essential elements (users, uses, purposes, works, conditions and preclusions) and shows simple yes/no or 0/1 results, which permit a quick understanding of their differences and similarities. This template was recently updated, in collaboration with PIJIP, to reflect the different provisions analysed by Prof. Seng and could, therefore, be a good reference to the Chair.

The second suggestion regards the study on digital issues. We believe that such a study is only useful if it brings evidence regarding the gags, legal uncertainties and obstacles that may inhibit the development of digital education and research.

For that, the methodology has to go beyond policy and legal analysis. Interviews and surveys involving educators, learners and researchers are essential. Here are a few topics that we would suggest to be included in such study:

  • Digital actions carried out by the education and research communities on a regular basis;
  • Types of tools, devices and works used for educational and research purposes;
  • Restrictions encountered by these stakeholders in relation to different types of digital materials;
  • Mechanisms to ensure functioning of exceptions and limitations regarding TPM-protected works;
  • Obstacles and uncertainties faced by these stakeholders; and
  • Cross-border related problems encountered by these stakeholders.

Thank you.