Intervention of African Group at WIPO copyright committee (SCCR25)

Egypt, on behalf of the African Group, delivered the following general intervention at the beginning of WIPO discussions at the 25th Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). This was taken from the WIPO live stream of SCCR negotiations: http://www.streamtext.net/player?event=WIPO

Egypt: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Egypt is pleased to make the statement on been half of the African group. The African group welcomes the SCCR 2013 work plan according to which WIPO Member States will continue their collected efforts towards concluding a treaty for exceptions of visually -- persons. To be recommended 2013 to the General Assembly and for educational institutions to be recommended by SCCR to the 2013 General Assembly. This work plan has integral part of it efforts and commitment by all Member States to hold a conference in protection much broadcasting organizations by 2014, as well. The African group attaches great importance to the VIP negotiations and looks forward for a successful outcome. As we know, the WHO estimates that 90 percent of the world's blind people live in developing countries, including 7 million persons in Africa. And the estimated numbers of persons visually including blind people and low vision is 20 million people. The comparable number in Middle East is 17 million people. The exceptions for limitations of visually impaired persons are important for Africa and the Middle East and more importantly should be relevant to them and should address the needs and aspirations.

The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights intersessional meeting held on 17-19 October managed to make progress, for example, regarding the definition of the works and persons and the rights to translation. However additional progress needs to be made in order to achieve convergence and to overcome outstanding significant issues to reach an outcome that would allow WIPO extraordinary General Assembly schedule in December to decide on diplomatic conference to conclude a VIP treaty in 2013.

There are however key policy questions that need to be resolved in order to pave the way for further progress. They include, for example, the following: Defining the nature of the authorized entities, what actions they would be permitted to conduct on what obligations they would be required to assume. In this regard, special attention should be accorded to provide entities in developing countries which may lack the resources and capacities to assume overly strict administrative rules and procedures or act as enforcement agencies. Secondly, the trigger for developing countries to exercise the exceptions and limitations permitted under the treaty should reflect reasonable price and -- prevailing in developing countries.

Thirdly the exceptions and limitations permitted under the treaty would not be impeded or negated buy other -- such as TPMs or contract law or create new obligations regarding sovereign discretion by Member States regarding how governments create other exceptions and limitations to address public interest needs nationally. Accordingly, it is critical that the approaching resources be considered under the Berne Convention consistent with the tests specifically fair use and fair dealing, whether in place of or in addition to specific limitations and exceptions in national law.

Mr. Chairman, one of the primary goals of the copyright system is the dissemination of creative works to enhance the public welfare -- has never been an end to itself and increasingly technological developments have strained the capacity of Copyright law to constrain the ways in which the public access creative work while some important doctrine shifts have occurred in the U.S. and EU, these efforts have yet to be reconciled with the international Copyright system, in particular new compromises that facilitate access to material and scientific research reflect the demands that developing countries have been making since the conclusion of the Paris convention to the Berne Convention. African countries need access to educational materials and resources in order to ensure development of human resources as well as their overall cultural, social and economic development.

With regard to the national Copyright system should reflect in historical focus on access to education and which remains critical to the development priorities of African countries. A minimum standard the national harmonization for exceptions and limitations, educational research institutions will both reduce the -- for rightsholders who are vulnerable to increasing threats of capacity licensing combined with new technological disruptions of access controls while accomplishing the interest of African governments to ensure a robust educational environment to support innovation.

Mr. Chairman, in this regard, SCCR 25 is also expected to advance the discussions achieved regarding exceptions for libraries, archives, educational institutions and people with other disabilities. The group looks forward that the limited time allocated to libraries and archives is devoted to substantive text-based discussions of the proposed text contained in SCCR/22/8 rather than on the sequence of the clusters national experiences with a view to fulfilling the 2012 GA decision.

In this regard, the group looks forward to engaging constructively on this important issues in order to assist
libraries and archives to continue their crucial role as custodian much human knowledge and indispensable platforms to facilitate access to information and materials for also sites and communities. The group also emphasizes the importance that the committee should advance text-based negotiations, decision on
broadcasting organisation in order to be able to adopt a treaty or the protecting of broadcasting organizations for the conference in 2014. The group would also support an intersessional meeting for the broadcasting issues to be held before the next SCCR session.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, important juncture in the work of SCCR., the African group would like to provide the guiding principles that have served the committee well in the past. To work with WIPO agenda recommendations following a global, transparent and inclusive approach and equal treatment for all exceptions and limitations and acknowledging needs and priorities of developing countries for cultural, social and economic development. The group strongly believes that SCCR should remain committed to these important principles to all issues on the agenda so as to further our common objective for an international copyright system that is balanced, capable much incentivizing creativity in developing countries. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.