WIPO Copyright Committee (SCCR 25) begins week of negotiations. Treaties for disabilities and broadcasting are focus

sccr25 wbu delegation, 19nov2012
Maryanne Diamond and Chris Friend of the WBU listen to opening interventions at SCCR 25

Today the 25th WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR25) begins a week long meeting. Disabilities and broadcasting treaties are the focus. SCCR 25 will also address copyright exceptions for libraries and education, in a packed week of talks. [See below for live updates]

There will be a big push at the SCCR for a recommendation to move a treaty on copyright exceptions for persons who are blind or have other disabilities to a diplomatic conference in June 2013. (See http://keionline.org/r2r for background). If SCCR 25 cannot reach an agreement on a negotiating text for blind treaty by Friday, the diplomatic conference may be delayed another year. We expect the European Union and Canada to call for a treaty for persons with disabilities, joining Switzerland, Australia, and all developing country negotiating blocks. The Obama Administration, which has long backed the alternative of a non-binding recommendation, has yet to agree that the nature of the instrument is a treaty.

The SCCR 25 negotiations on WIPO treaty for broadcasters will seek consensus on purpose and scope of the agreement. It's a mess now. Several countries will try to narrow WIPO broadcast treaty proposals to anti-piracy measures, avoiding new intellectual property rights for broadcasting organizations, but we don't know yet how broadcasters will react. Still lacking is an explanation for why a treaty is needed.

The SCCR discussions on copyright exceptions for libraries and education will also continue, with the USA trying to block agreement to consider future treaties on mandatory minimum exceptions.

Semi live updates

The meeting begins with a decision to spend 3 days on the disabilities issues. Most of the negotiations will take place behind closed doors. The Asia Group has asked for the maximum transparency, given that much will be done between a handful of negotiators. We are told that negotiators are quite optimistic about the concluding an agreement to schedule a diplomatic conference. We have heard that one of the more contentious issues, the text on the "three step test," will not be a major problem in concluding the agreement, and this is good news, if it is true that the European Union has shown more flexibility. There is now talk of a possible location for the dipcom, with Brazil, Nigeria and Morocco among the leading countries for hosting the meeting.

On the topic of the broadcasting treaty, we have heard that large companies that own broadcast stations and cable/satellite channels are not happy with the US proposal (which we have not seen) to narrow the treaty.

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During the morning interventions, the EU went on the record supporting a treaty as the nature of the instrument.

Mr. Chairman, the EU and its Member States are now also in the position to negotiate the conclusion of an instrument including a binding treaty.

We are told there will be a new negotiating next distributed Tuesday morning for comment by member states.