SCCR22: Opening statement of the Development Agenda Group

Development Agenda Group’s Statement
22nd session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights
(15-24 June 2011)

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the Development Agenda Group. At the outset, I wish to extend my sincere congratulations on behalf of the Group to you and to the Vice Chairs on your election. We are confident that under your able stewardship, this Committee will continue to make tangible progress on developing normative frameworks for all the three key issues on its agenda – for exceptions and limitations on copyrighted works for Visually Impaired Persons, Libraries, Archives and Education; for the protection of broadcasting organisations and the protection of audiovisual performances. We wish to also thank the Secretariat for preparing the high quality working documents submitted to this Committee. The DAG is optimistic that progress would be made on all these important issues, which reflect the shared interests of both developed and developing countries and hope that this session finds closure on the pending audio visual and broadcasting treaties.

Mr. Chairman,

2. The issue of Exceptions and Limitations in Copyrights is particularly important for the DAG since we view it as an important tool to bring in the necessary balance between the interests of rights holders and the larger public interest. We are therefore happy that at the last session of the SCCR, WIPO Member States agreed to a work program for the next three sessions according to which the Committee would undertake text-based work with the objective of reaching agreement on appropriate exceptions and limitations for visually impaired persons, in its first session, and for libraries, archives and education, in its next two sessions. We look forward to meaningful progress in these areas and are optimistic that the SCCR would be in a position to submit recommendations to the General Assembly on all these areas, as mandated by the General Assembly, in accordance with the specific timetable.

3. The main focus of this session of the SCCR will be on the issue of a Treaty for facilitating access to copyright protected books and written material for the visually impaired. In this context, the Group welcomes the treaty proposal put forward by Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico as well as other proposals. We are encouraged by the progress made by the proponents of the various proposals, namely the proponents of the VIP Treaty as well as the EU, US and the African Group in their informal consultations on the subject and look forward to working on a single negotiating text on the subject. We hope that the good work done in previous SCCR sessions and the spirit of openness and goodwill that has characterized the informal consultations among the proponents will progress to its logical conclusion in the form of a diplomatic conference for adoption of an international treaty on this issue. It is vital that such a treaty ensure that all countries have in their national laws, exceptions and limitations to facilitate access to reading material for the visually impaired, while also providing for the cross border sharing of works in accessible formats. This would benefit not only the visually impaired and reading disabled community, but enrich the world as a whole. Indeed, we believe that this session represents a historic opportunity to all WIPO Member States to contribute tangibly to the empowerment of millions of visually impaired persons worldwide by recommending to the next General Assembly, the convening of a Diplomatic Conference to approve a treaty on exceptions and limitations for the benefit of visually impaired persons.

4. We hope that we will collectively seize this opportunity and contribute to such an outcome in this session. On its part, the members of the DAG stand ready to participate constructively in the deliberations and to work in a spirit of goodwill to achieve these positive outcomes.

5. Finally, Mr Chairman, the DAG looks forward to the inclusion of the proposed new agenda item 10 that would enable this Committee to discuss how it is contributing to the mainstreaming of the WIPO Development Agenda and report on it to the WIPO General Assembly, as mandated by it in 2010. This is imperative, given the ongoing discussions in this Committee, especially on exceptions and limitations to copyrights, and the contribution this would make to incorporating broader public policy concerns and developmental goals in national IP policies. We look forward to early adoption of the agenda, with the inclusion of this item, so that the Committee can focus on the other substantive issues, for which technical experts have traveled from afar.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.