HRC28: Statement of the United States of America - Cultural Rights (Response to SR Report on Copyright and Right to Culture)

On Wednesday, 11 March 2015, Ambassador Keith Harper, U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council, delivered the following statement to the 28th Session of the Human Rights Council on the topic of cultural rights. Specifically, Ambassador Harper responded to the presentation of the Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights on her Report on Copyright policy and the right to science and culture (A/HRC/28/57).

With respect to the Special Rapporteur's recommendations on international norm-setting to provide a core set of mandatory copyright limitations and exceptions, Ambassador Harper noted,

The United States also does not agree with many of the report’s recommendations and characterizations. These include ones related to copyright norm-setting activities at experts’ discussions in other international fora and others suggesting that individual creators and corporations or businesses should merit different protections.

The complete US statement on cultural rights follows.

28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Delivered by Ambassador Keith HarperU.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

March 11, 2015 – Geneva

Cultural Rights

The United States is pleased to have this opportunity to engage with Special Rapporteur Shaheed.

We appreciate the report’s recognition of the importance of copyright in encouraging creativity. Copyright laws in the United States and other countries foster and promote culture, science, and the arts, for the benefit not only of their creators, but also the general public. A wide range of academic studies has found that when effective copyright protection exists, creators produce more work. If society does not provide authors, artists, and performers with sufficient incentives to create – by ensuring meaningful protections for what they create – we diminish not only their economic and other wellbeing, but also that of millions of individuals and businesses that rely on their creativity. In the end, we diminish the cultural life of our global community.

In the view of the United States, the report does not adequately acknowledge that copyright can serve as a means to promote human rights, including those expressed in Article 27(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also believe that the report should have fully addressed the pressing challenges posed to creators by lack of respect for intellectual property rights and for all individuals’ human rights to freedom of expression.

The United States also does not agree with many of the report’s recommendations and characterizations. These include ones related to copyright norm-setting activities at experts’ discussions in other international fora and others suggesting that individual creators and corporations or businesses should merit different protections.

Copyright, science, and culture are critically interconnected, and copyright plays a key role in incentivizing creative and scientific works for the benefit of all. We look forward to encouraging further in discussions on these important issues.

Question:

Madame Special Rapporteur, we would be interested to hear about the approach that you intend to undertake for the second report, planned for this year, involving the connection between human rights and patent policy?