Athanasios Venitsanopoulos IAF, News, WIPO

We attended the 42nd meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in Geneva in May 2022.

Discussion on Exceptions and Limitations

A major feature of the SCCR was the discussion on Exceptions and Limitations, with the presentation of a proposed draft working plan. Member states at the SCCR took an overall positive and constructive approach to the plan, yet a significant number of countries pointed out the challenge of proposing a wide-reaching legal instrument or treaty that could be harmful to creative industries.

IAF, among other WIPO observers, made the case that when exceptions to copyright are poorly legislated, with not enough consideration or an unclear scope, they can undermine the ability to authors to make a living from their work. Although many organisations representatives at WIPO argued for wider copyright exceptions we were glad to see many nations acknowledge the need to support authors with approaches to copyright that consider authors needs and national needs.

Experts spoke on the subject and took questions from UN member states, many of whom outlined the challenges of a binding international instrument on copyright exceptions. IAF was glad to see the issue that authors in Canada have faced around educational exceptions, where they had to rely on court cases to seek remuneration for uses of their work, was raised and acknowledged.

Public Lending Right

Sierra Leone, Malawi and Panama presented their proposal for a study on Public Lending Right (PLR), making clear that it was not to be a push towards a treaty but instead a study that would equip policymakers in many countries to set up PLR systems that would help support authors.

Although the proposal saw a range of support, the proposal will require further discussion before it can go forward due to a dissenting opinion from one country.

Broadcasting Treaty and other matters

A significant amount of the SCCR timetable was taken up with the broadcasting treaty which has developed closer to the point of having a dedicated technical session to develop text for a treaty.

Time was also made for a series of presentations on Copyright Related to the Digital Environment, which at this time is focused on the music industry. Unfortunately, due to time restrictions there was no option to discuss the Artists Resale Right, but WIPO is expecting an update on this at the next SCCR.

Side events included a session on the growth of the Turkish film and TV sector, which has grown significantly under a strong copyright regime, and a presentation on the spread of cross-border copyright exceptions.

WIPO’s research on the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic was also presented, with one session providing an Overview on the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Creative Industries and another on Copyright-Related Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Educational, Research and Cultural Heritage Institutions and the People They Serve.

The sessions gave input from all sectors of the creative industries and looked at a range of struggles and for some industries, particularly video games, where there had been major opportunities. These can be watched online. IAF contributed a report to the ongoing study conducted by WIPO on the impact of COVID-19. A report will be forthcoming in the future.

You can see the submission of the IAF to the SCCR here.