Currently, when looking at the agenda for the 26th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) one can see three items of importance that are to be discussed this December 16th to the 20th . These are: the protection of broadcasting organizations, limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives, and limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and for persons with other disabilities. If all three of these sound familiar, it is because they were also on the agenda for the 25th session of the SCCR and whether they will still remain on the agenda for the 27th session will remain to be seen. However, until then, here is a brief summary of each item.
Protection of Broadcasting Organizations
As mentioned in a previous post regarding this issue at the last session of the SCCR, it was decided by the committee that more time was needed to examine the treaty from a more technological perspective. Indeed, this is a critical aspect of the treaty as the committee had made an agreement in 2006 to pursue a signal based approach on the matter, which is to say that the treaty will mainly concern itself with broadcast signals as many mediums exist for the transmission of such signals (cable, satellite, etc). Perhaps one of the most contentious issues with this item is whether or not broadcasts over computer networks should be covered by the document, if at all. With Internet piracy and digital rights being topics prevalent in discussions regarding what should be done with the protection of broadcasting organizations, this could become a very controversial issue. On top of this, any major overhauls made to the state of international copyright for broadcasting organizations and user’s related right will be the largest since the Rome Convention. Essentially, this is an issue that greatly affects not only broadcasting organizations, but also the rights of audiences to assert their related rights in regards to transmissions.
Instrument/Treaty for Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives
At the last session of the SCCR, the committee decided to continue its text based work on the document at the 26th session. While a single working document, although not nearly mature enough to be given to the preparatory committee of the General Assembly was submitted at the last session, many of the delegates expressed a desire to grant greater access to copyrighted material for libraries and archives. However, as our previous report mentioned, it was a major divergence of opinion on the matter that led to its being pushed back to the 26th session of the SCCR. It has been proposed by some that an international solution should not be pursued and nations simply provide amendments to their domestic laws, similar to that of Canada (who made such a proposal at the last meeting) and the United States. While this is a position that is popular with developed nations, it is not a position that is popular with delegates representing developing nations. As developing nations are often in need of the ability to reproduce educational material and improve access to knowledge, this is a crucial area of concern. Ultimately, though, how this issue will be resolved remains to be seen.
Instrument/Treaty for Limitations and Exceptions for Educational and Research Institutions and for Persons with Other Disabilities
It had been agreed at the 24th session of the SCCR that a target date for the submission of a treaty/instrument for limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and persons with other disabilities to the General Assembly had been set for the 28th session of the SCCR in 2014, but with the delays in addressing the previous two other documents at the previous session, it remains to be seen if this deadline will actually be met. Nonetheless, the committee will be continuing text based deliberations at the upcoming session as well as considering possible reorganization of the document and identifying potential issues witch the committee should focus its work.
At the present time, a provisional working document regarding the creation of an instrument/treaty has been prepared by the secretariat in lieu of the upcoming meeting. Currently, suggestions have been made by various member states as to the breadth and scope of such an instrument/treaty. These suggestions have been categorized into seven sections: preamble, definitions, generally applicable considerations, uses, exceptions and limitations for persons with other disabilities, general comments on the preamble and definitions, and broader topics with implications for education. Aside from the preamble, which is fairly self-explanatory, the separate sections mentioned above also break into separate subsections that further correspond to the specifics of the limitations and exceptions that would be granted to those who are deemed able to do so in the definitions section of the document. In regards to that section, definitions for accessible format, archives, database’s, disability, exclusive rights,
As the date for the 26th session is set for December 16th to the 20th of this year there is still a significant amount of time before now and the commencement of deliberation. In the meantime, be sure to check back here for more information and updates.