SCCR 25 Update: Negotiators advance towards an international treaty for the visually impaired
Delegates at the WIPO Standing Committee for Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR or Committee) concluded a week-long negotiation on November 23, 2012, with progress on all items of the agenda.
Member States made significant progress on the substantive provisions of a draft treaty/legal instrument on appropriate exceptions and limitations for persons with visual impairment and/or print disabilities. After fruitful negotiations, agreement was reached on several essential elements of the instrument, including key definitions for the works covered by the text and the “authorized entities” that would provide accessible versions of published works to persons with visual impairment/print disabilities.
Negotiations advanced to the point that Member States recommended that the WIPO General Assembly, which will be convened in extraordinary session on December 17 and 18, 2012, evaluate the draft and decide whether to convene a diplomatic conference in 2013 to adopt a legal instrument/treaty to benefit persons with visual impairment/print disabilities. The final decision will be taken by the General Assembly. Plans are also in place for the diplomatic conference Preparatory Committee to meet after the Extraordinary General Assembly on December 17 and 18 to finalize the rules and procedures and various texts.
The Committee also addressed the issues of exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives and for educational, teaching and research institutions and persons with other disabilities. Negotiators reaffirmed their commitment to keep working and move the discussions forward on these crucial areas of the copyright system that enhance access to knowledge. In this respect an inter-sessional meeting devoted to discussing the item of exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives will be considered for the second half of 2013 at the next SCCR session.
Furthermore, Member States expressed strong interest in advancing their work on the protection of broadcasting organizations and decided to convene a three day inter-sessional meeting focused on this topic during the first quarter of 2013.
The report of SCCR 25 will be tabled for adoption at SCCR 26, which will take place in July 2013.
The Committee was attended by participants from 85 countries, as well as 63 observers. It was chaired by Ambassador Darlington Mwape (Zambia). Ms. Alexandra Grazioli of Switzerland, the Committee’s Vice-Chair, also chaired several sessions.
Two side events held during the session attracted strong interest. These were:
- Nollywood at the Crossroads: Copyright and Growth in Africa’s most prolific Audiovisual Industry; organized by the Association of Nollywood Core Producers (ANCP) and the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF).
- Panel Discussion on Copyright and Access to Education; organized by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).