SCCR debates way forward on new text for possible treaty for copyright exceptions for persons with disabilities

June 24: The current negotiating document on disabilities at the WIPO SCCR is SCCR/22/16. A new version Prov. 1 was passed out this morning. The paper is described as a "document prepared by the chair." It is based upon SCCR/22/15 REV.1, a "Proposal on an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities," a June 22, 2011 document signed by "Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, the European Union and its Member States, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, the Russian Federation, the United States of America and Uruguay." The document by the Chairman is supposed to also reflect comments by all member states, including those not sponsoring SCCR/22/15 REV.1.

No one can say what is the status or end game of the text. The United States and the European Union are keen to remove all brackets and have a clean text, which the US and the EU would then propose become a non-binding "recommendation" to be adopted in September, with a dubious link to a possibility of a diplomatic conference 2 to 5 years later, if sufficient benchmarks or "triggers" are achieved, such as implementation of the recommendation by several governments. The WBU, KEI and most other consumer-rights and development NGOs want to avoid the 2-step process, which they see as a bad faith and cynical trap, that is designed to kill the treaty.

A digital copy of SCCR/22/16 Prov. 1. is attached below. The Prov. 1 version includes some track changes and comments. The Africa group notes that not all of its suggestions were included yet. The Chairman promised that all of the country comments will be added, and so there will probably be a new paper circulated later today.

This afternoon we were also show the first draft of the meeting conclusions, which are available here: http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/Draft_conclusions_11_06_24_E.doc. This will be subject to a number of changes.

At present, the relevant recommendations on disabilities read as follows:

Limitations and Exceptions: Persons with print and other reading disabilities

2 The Committee took note of two new documents, namely the comparative List of Proposals Related to Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired Persons and Other Persons with Print Disabilities, prepared by the Secretariat (SCCR/22/8); and the Draft WIPO Treaty on Exceptions and Limitations for the Persons with Disabilities, Educational and Research Institutions, Libraries and Archives; proposal by the African Group (SCCR/22/12), which revised previous proposal put forward in document SCCR/20/11.

3 The Committee thanked the proponents of all four current substantive proposals for their sincere efforts to hold meaningful discussions in informal consultations to finally bring out a common document in the form of a consensus document (document SCCR/22/15) which addressed important issues of a possible international legal instrument for limitations and exceptions for persons with print and other reading disabilities. Members made comments and asked preliminary questions. A number of Member States endorsed this document and signaled their interest in sponsoring it. On the basis of the above consensus document, and taking into account the various suggestions made by some Member States, a proposal on an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities was presented by a number of Member States (document SCCR/22/15 Rev. 1).

4 The Committee requested the Chair to prepare a final proposal for an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities (document SCCR/22/16) which would constitute the basis for the future text-based work to be undertaken by the Committee in its 23rd session.

5 The Committee agreed to recommend to the WIPO General Assembly that Members of the Committee continue discussions regarding the Chair’s document SCCR/22/16 with the aim to agree and finalize a basic proposal for an international legal instrument for limitations and exceptions for persons with print and other reading disabilities in the 23rd session of the SCCR.

6 The Committee encouraged the stakeholders to continue the work of the Stakeholders’ Platform.

Canada and then several other countries have asked for changes, particularly in paragraphs 3 and 4, to make the conclusions more accurate, and to clarify how much time in SCCR 23 will be spend on this issue.

....

6:30 pm. The meeting is ending. The revised conclusions will be circulated later. Wait!! Some members want to see the conclusions.

7:40 pm They just passed out a new draft of the conclusions. They are better than the original version, in our view. Now they are debating it. Japan wants to water down the text a bit.

The final conclusions on this topic will read as follows:

Limitations and Exceptions: Persons with print and other reading disabilities

2 The Committee took note of two new documents, namely the comparative List of Proposals Related to Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired Persons and Other Persons with Print Disabilities, prepared by the Secretariat (SCCR/22/8); and the Draft WIPO Treaty on Exceptions and Limitations for the Persons with Disabilities, Educational and Research Institutions, Libraries and Archives; proposal by the African Group (SCCR/22/12), which revised previous proposal put forward in document SCCR/20/11.

3 The Committee thanked the proponents of all four substantive proposals for their sincere efforts to hold meaningful discussions in informal consultations to explore points of commonality and possible convergence among the four substantive proposals. Some Members who participated in those informal consultations released a "non-paper" which was later submitted as a proposal from a group of Member States (document SCCR/22/15). Members made comments and asked preliminary questions. A number of Members endorsed this document and signaled their interest in sponsoring it. On the basis of the above proposal and taking into account the various suggestions made by some Members, a revised proposal on an international instrument on limitations or exceptions for persons with print disabilities was presented by a number of Members (document SCCR/22/15 Rev. 1).

4 Following further discussion, the Committee asked the Chair to prepare a Chair’s text for an international instrument on limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities (document SCCR/22/16), which would constitute the basis for the future text-based work to be undertaken by the Committee in its 23rd session.

5 The Committee agreed to recommend to the WIPO General Assembly that Members of the Committee continue discussions regarding the Chair’s document SCCR/22/16 with the aim to agree and finalize a basic proposal for an international instrument for limitations and exceptions for persons with print reading disabilities in the 23rd session of the SCCR, in accordance with the timetable adopted at the 21st session of the SCCR.

6 The Committee encouraged the stakeholders to continue the work of the Stakeholders’ Platform.

Before the meeting adjourned, WIPO ADG Trevor Clarke spoke for some time to single out several delegations for their contributions to what was a very productive week for the SCCR, from the point of view of the WIPO Secretariat. Among others, he was particularly careful to praise the Brasil delegation, and to offer this tribute to Justin Hughes of the US delegation:

Trevor Clarke: But more particularly I would like to pay attribute to the mastery of professor Hughes. In not only the audiovisual negotiations but everything that we do in this SCCR seems to revolve around his mastery. For some mysterious reason the United States finds itself in the centre of this room -- the physical centre. And the leader the United States delegation always finds himself at the centre of the solutions that we have been able to achieve. And I would like to thank you tremendously and sincerely sir. That is with or without the bow tie. I would like to thank you.

Justin was effective in drafting text and in the negotiations. He also spent a great deal of time telling the World Blind Union it was a mistake to push for a treaty, and trying to engineer an outcome that would kill the treaty, which Justin told the WBU was "the camel's nose" in terms of what would come next.


This was the view from SCCR 22 on Thursday

sccr22_23june2011_IMG_2462.JPG


The KEI delegation for SCCR 22 was Thiru Balasubramaniam, Krista Cox, Fedro Paolo De Tomassi and James Love.
kei-team-sccr22.jpg
AttachmentSize
Draft_conclusions_11_06_24_E .doc48 KB
SCCR_22_16_Prov_1.doc282.5 KB
Draft_conclusions_11_06_24_FINAL clean.doc55 KB

Whats the next step?

James,
Will there be further negotiations during this session, or does it get tabled until the next meeting? Was there some kind of 'breakthrough' or not?
Thanks,
Bob Martinengo