A draft study by Professor Seng presented last week at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is of particular relevance to Canada, where many universities have recently begun to take the stance that the inclusion of articles or book chapters, for example, in hard copy and electronic course packs, is fair dealing that does not require permission or payment of copyright fees. Is the Canadian universities’ interpretation of fair dealing in line with the policies adopted in other countries? Professor Seng’s study sheds some light on this question. Read my full blog post on this topic here. Chapter 4: “Access to education, libraries, and traditional knowledge” of my book International Copyright and Access to Knowledge addresses the history and present politics of copyright in educational works.
Barring a few exceptions, there is a pattern as to where a country likely stands on protecting traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, and genetic resources at the Intergovernmental Committee. Simply look at a map, and determine if that country is closer to the North Pole or the South Pole.
In its mission to protect traditional knowledge and genetic resources as classes of intellectual property, the Intergovernmental Committee has produced two distinct solutions: a one-click clearing house database, and a mandatory patent source disclosure requirement. Each strategy has a different group of countries supporting it. And each strategy has perceived weaknesses that its opponents readily and repeatedly point out.
The Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (commonly referred to as simply “the [Intergovernmental] Committee” or “the I.G.C.”) is a department of the World Intellectual Property Organization (W.I.P.O.). Its mandate is to draft, negotiate, and implement formal international text-based legal structures that protect the authors and rights-holders of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions, and genetic resources from having these categories of intellectual property exploited or otherwise misused by outside parties.