A calmer but still bustling Day 3 which was no less important for IPA with the announcement of the 2023 IPA Prix Voltaire shortlist and a vital session on ‘lawfair’ that stifles freedom of expression.
Day 2 of London Book Fair kicked off in two places for IPA. At the fair, IPA President, Karine Pansa, welcomed the Mayor of London for his opening keynote. Just outside the Fair, IPA Vice President, Gvantsa Jobava, was welcoming the IPA’s Copyright Committee, which is chaired by Jessica Sänger and had much to discuss following recent copyright developments around the world.
Pansa welcomed Khan and his commitment to both London as an international level cultural hub and a more environmentally respectful city. She underlined the dual nature of publishing in tackling the climate crisis - through the books it publishes and the way publishers conduct themselves as businesses. Khan, speaking in conversation with Dan Conway, CEO of the Publishers Association, was keen to underline the need for urgent actions and that Mayors of cities in many countries could be ‘doers’. He spoke of his forthcoming book as a sort of guidebook to move from fatalism and apathy to a action focused approach.
Sustainability was on the Main Stage programming with Sustainability in Books Publishing – What has Been Achieved to Date and What Still Needs to be Done? Back at the Sustainability lounge, there was an update on the progress of the 2030 Accelerator - an initiative of multiple individual publishers and service providers looking to make concrete progress on a number of sustainability issues by June this year. Jörg Engelstädter summarised the session as sharing ideas about the sustainability impact of a book. No two books are the same and not every book is a sustainably produced book.
The Copyright highlight of the day was the prestigious Charles Clark Memorial Lecture. A cooperation between the IPA, FEP, the Publishers Association, the CLA and PLS, the lecture celebrates the memory of the brilliant Charles Clark who spent much of his career focusing his critical mind on the intersection of copyright and technology.
This year’s lecture was delivered by Dr Andres Guadamuz. In a fascinating (if Llama infested) lecture, Dr Guadamuz had the opportunity to evoke the work of Charles Clark when considering different copyright regimes around the world, noting Clark’s involvement in the development of the CDPA (1988). In his self-deprecating style as an AI TDM Copyright geek whose underground band just became famous, he focused on the questions around authors, authorship and what works can be protected. He shared his belief that licensing would be the solution to limiting litigation, particular around the content used to train AI systems, although he recognized that case law in different jurisdictions could impact that. It was a thoroughly successful lecture and Q&A to a standing room only Focus Theatre.
Hot on the heels of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, a different kind of gathering for IPA - the 43rd sitting of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO’s) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in a fine, but cloudy, Geneva.
Day 3 of SCCR 42 opened with further discussion and analysis of the new text on the broadcasting treaty with the afternoon reserved for discussions on exceptions and limitations.
Following the eventful first day of SCCR 42, day 2 saw a slightly emptier conference hall pick up the SCCR 42 agenda. The broadcasting treaty was the agenda item of the day. Delegates seemed impatient to move on to this discussion after two years of delay and with a new text in front of them.
A blue sky welcomed back delegates to Geneva for the first face to face WIPO SCCR since 2019. An information session on the impact of COVID on the copyright ecosystem, election of a new officers and approval of observers were the headline discussion points for the day but the Russian invasion of Ukraine cast a shadow over the morning’s proceedings.
The term of IPA Past President, Dr Michiel Kolman, on the board of the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) came to an end last month. The ABC is hosted by WIPO and is part of the practical implementation of the Marakesh Treaty. Michiel has been succeeded by Laura Brady of Canadian publisher, House of Anansi. I asked Michiel about his work on the ABC board and to Laura about her background in accessibility and her hopes for the future.
The SDG Book Club was an idea formed through a unique collaboration between the IPA and the United Nations and involved the full spectrum of the book chain. The idea was simple; to use books as tool to encourage children aged between 6-12 to understand sustainability and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Originally launched in the six official UN languages, the idea was quickly adopted for local markets with the first SDG library established in Norway in 2020. One year on, we invited Kristin Ørjasæter, Managing Director of the Norwegian Institute for Children Books to reflect on the success, to hear about their future plans and advise for others hoping to establish their own SDG library.
The hybrid 40th SCCR maintained the traditional schedule of a normal meeting and so reserved the last session for a quick review of the subjects which are vying for a position on the formal SCCR policy agenda: a miscellany it gathers together as ‘Other Matters’.
Those subjects are
The proposal for a study on public lending right was on this list for the first time following the request by the delegation of Sierra Leone at SCCR 39 (and since supported by Panama and Malawi).
The update presentations and reactions from delegates and observers was efficient and eerie, both. In full measure.
And with that, Mr Abdoul Aziz Dieng of Sénégal, thanked all of the participants, the Chair’s summary was read out, and the meeting closed.
Day 3 of the hybrid SCCR 40 saw the Exceptions and Limitations discussions take centre stage. Given the decision of Member States to limit interactions at this meeting to stock-taking, the main focus was on the 130-page report issued by WIPO following the three Regional Seminars held in 2019 in Singapore, Nairobi and Santo Domingo and the subsequent international conference held in Geneva last October. The IPA participated in all these events, gathering together local publishers and coordinating closely with representatives of other stakeholders, including authors and CMOs.
This first meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of 2020 is an almost 100% virtual affair, save for a handful of people in the plenary chamber in Geneva, with a dramatically reduced programme of a couple of hours per day, and with a promise of no normative (or law-making) discussions on any of the agenda items.
As a bonus to our series of posts for Global Goals week, we thought we would concentrate on a specific goal, namely SDG 5: Gender Equality.