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.
Need a refresher of what happened at SCCR 42 in May 2022? Read our blog posts here.
Owen Ripley of Canada took over as Chair, succeeding Abdoul Aziz Dieng of Senegal. The week ahead feels like a full return to SCCR (as opposed to last year’s COVID-affected SCCR-lite) albeit with a retro feel - the main plenary hall is being refurbished so the main discussions are in room A, where SCCR meetings used to be held up until 10 years ago.
SCCR42 had begun in the shadow of the war in Ukraine. SCCR 43 started in a similar way with the Ukrainian delegation underlining via Zoom the impact of the war on their cultural industries and heritage. The Russian delegation interrupted on points of order, delegations spoke in support of Ukraine and others in support of keeping the discussions focused on the agenda.
This rather tempestuous opening came to a close and discussions on the agenda began with news that some national delegations were looking for a second SCCR in 2023. This will be discussed in the background during the week with a decision on the election of officers connected to that discussion.
First up was observer accreditations. Among the 5 organisations put forward was the Wikimedia foundation which a number of national associations rejected in 2022. While all Member States welcomed the role of NGOs in bringing expertise, China opposed some elements of the work of the Wikimedia because it went against the ‘one China policy’ and a number of other Member States underlined that consensus among Member States was required for observer accreditation. In the end, WIPO’s consensus policy held firm and Wikimedia was not accredited.
The morning closed with delegations’ opening remarks on the Broadcasting Treaty, and a new text which would be discussed in the afternoon.
The first of the week’s 5 side events was “Empirical Evidence on Copyright: an Open Knowledge Approach” organized by CREATe, The UK Copyright and Creative Economy Centre, University of Glasgow. You can read CREATe’s post ahead of the side event here. CREATe is part of the Global Network on Copyright User Rights led by the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) of the American University, Washington, College of Law. Their Copyright Evidence tool gathers research around copyright and enables that research to be broken down by geography, topic and more. Martin Kretschmer, Bartolomeo Meletti, Kris Erickson and Andrea Wallace presented the tool and different examples around issues like DRMs and TPMs, or galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
The afternoon opened with observer comments on the Broadcasting Treaty – a number of broadcasters and sports organisations declared their support for the new draft, while a number of other NGOs railed against the text. SCCR Vice Chair Peter Labady then opened the presentation of the Second Revised Draft Text with eminent Finnish copyright expert Jukka Liedes walking through the details in tandem with Kenyan expert Hezekiel Oira. Initial Member State reactions and questions suggest this long-standing agenda item might be standing for a little bit longer.
Delegates left the WIPO building to see the clouds had lifted. Day 2 will see them return for more Broadcasting discussions, two side events, and the beginning of the agenda item on Exceptions and Limitations.