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WIPO STANDING COMMITTEE ON COPYRIGHT AND RELATED RIGHTS
24th Session: Geneva, 16 - 25 July 2012
Statement from EIFL on libraries and archives
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am speaking on behalf of Electronic Information for Libraries. First I would like to commend the Secretariat for providing live webcast and transcription for this meeting. We appreciate the openness and transparency this brings to Committee proceedings.
We thank the Committee for the adoption of SCCR/23/8 that we believe is a good basis for moving forward on all the topics.
I will comment briefly on two important issues that arose in discussions last week. The first is the relationship between exceptions and limitations and the delivery of local content. Strong exceptions and limitations benefit the creation and dissemination of local content without jeopardizing the incentive to create. Here are three examples:
• A university library that enables lawful reproduction of its resources for students and academics equips the next generation for innovation, creativity and leadership;
• A work preserved by a National Library becomes part of the national heritage for future scholars and citizens who can re-discover resources that would otherwise be lost;
• A public lending library that runs storytelling clubs for children increases literacy rates, a proven indicator in poverty reduction. In addition, a literate population fosters the long-term development of a market for information products, especially for local content.
We strongly believe that exceptions and limitations are good for local research, local creativity, local innovation and development.
The second issue relates to the three-step test, increasingly being relied upon in international, regional and national laws. The applicability, or otherwise, of the three-step test in the different treaties to different rights and different exceptions, plus varying interpretations of its meaning are a growing source of confusion and uncertainty. We would ask the Committee to provide guidance on this complex topic to help advance thinking of the current role and function of the three-step test, its scope and application, as well as limitations on its use. This guidance would be very helpful and would provide increased confidence in what is possible within the copyright system.
Finally, I will comment on negotiations for a treaty for blind and visually impaired people. Mr. Chairman, we reject any assertion that would use libraries and archives as a reason not to advance a treaty. Every issue should be discussed, evaluated, and should stand or fall on its own merits. It would be a tragedy if the copyright system were to freeze up in the face of change, or through fear of new precedents when all around us change is happening – through technological developments, new business models, judicial decisions such as that of Canada’s Supreme Court that fair dealing is a user’s right. As stated by the distinguished delegate of Brazil, TVI is a clear human rights issue without linkage to issues that are essentially business interests.
The famous remark by Victor Hugo in 1878 is pertinent:
“…If one of these two rights, the right of the writer and the right of humankind had to be sacrificed, it would of course be that of the writer because the public interest is our sole concern and humankind, I declare, must come before us writers.”
In this spirit, we ask you, distinguished delegates, to demonstrate your commitment to the human rights of print disabled people around the world by endorsing a treaty proposal at this meeting.
Thank you for your attention.
Geneva, 25th July 2012