2011 WIPO General Assembly begins week long meeting

The 49th WIPO General Assembly began today, in a packed hall of the CICG convention center. The agenda and other documents for the meeting is available here. The Director General, Francis Gurry, began his talk focusing on financial challenges, and, among other things, several references to the work of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). Gurry talked about progress on the AV treaty, and progress on an “instrument” for persons with disabilities. He talked about the new SCCR work program on the broadcast treaty. He did not mention the WIPO work on libraries, education or other copyright limitations and exceptions issues.

The meeting is webcast. Countries have been given 5 minutes for opening statements.


Both Thiru and I are attending the meeting for KEI.

There is also some good blogging of the meeting by:

Here are some tweets from the morning session

  • TB: CICG plenary room filling up; some NGO placards are sometimes two to a desk (Latin Artis sharing seat w/ KEI)!
  • TB: Outgoing Chair is (Dumont, Argentina).
  • TB: Dumont notes progress on IGC and AV. “We need more trust between ourselves”. Greater political commitment is needed for further progress on integrating the IP with the Development Agenda.
  • TB: Webcast of the General Assemblies is here (other IGOs should follow #WIPO’s example): bit.ly/qF4Uw9
  • TB: Slovenia nominates Serbian Ambassador to Chair General Assembly. Angola and Panama vice-chairs.
  • JL: In his opening address to WIPO GA, Gurry emphasizes new work SCCR work program on broadcast treaty.
  • JL: Gurry also mentioned AV treaty &work on “instrument” for disabilities. No mention of work on libraries, education L&E or other a2k issues.
  • TB: #Gurry: On #WIPO’s normative work, I would like to strike an optimistic note here. I think there have been positive developments. We have a breakthrough on an AV treaty, a breakthrough of an 11 year deadlock. We have a recommendation to these assemblies to convene-or reconvene a diplomatic conference for an AV Treaty.
  • TB: #Gurry: In the same #SCCR commitee, we have an agreement on an “instrument” for “visually/print impaired” persons.
  • JL: South Africa presents the Africa Group position, which is detailed, substantive, and strategic.
  • TB: #WIPOGA2011: South African Ambassador, Abdul Samad Minty speaking for African Group; mentions African Group L&E proposal, AV treaty, broadcasting treaty and work on IGC. Also mentions African proposal to WIPO SCP on patents and health.
  • TB: South African Ambassador mentions L&E work program.
  • TB: African Group: Time is ripe for #SCCR to commence work on a broadcasting treaty.
  • TB: African Group: We are happy with progress on traditional cultural expressions and traditional knowledge. Disappointed with work on genetic resources, especially with respect mandatory disclosure.
  • TB: African Group: We are happy with progress on traditional cultural expressions and traditional knowledge. Disappointed with work on genetic resources, especially with respect mandatory disclosure.
  • JL: Group B, which includes the USA, just said it wants to work for positive outcome to broadcast treaty discussions.
  • TB: Panamanian Ambassador, on behalf of GRULAC, underscored its support for a disabilities Treaty at #WIPOGA2011.
  • JL: Central European and Baltic states at #WIPO GA emphasize need for disabilities solution “acceptable to all stakeholders.” i.e. publishers.
  • JL: Before WIPO GA, secretariat refused to publish key SCCR negotiating document on disabilities, to undermine push for diplomatic conf
  • JL: KEI asked USPTO to support efforts to approve diplomatic conference on disabilities issue, subject to agreement at November SCCR.
  • JL: Obama admin trying to block any diplomatic conference on treaty for blind during his 1st term. There may not be a 2nd term. Then what?
  • TB: Pakistan, on behalf of Asian Group, “We view the ongoing discussions at WIPO SCCR on limitations and exceptions as a very positive development in terms of calibrating the balance between private rights and the public interest. interest with the view of developing a normative framework”.
  • TB: Panamanian Ambassador, on behalf of GRULAC, underscored its support for a disabilities Treaty at #WIPOGA2011.
  • TB: #WIPOGA2011: Indian Ambassador, Achamkulangare Gopinathan, making intervention at WIPO on behalf of Development Agenda Group.
  • TB: India: We look for further progress in WIPO #SCP on African Group/DAG proposal on patents and health.
  • JL: India speaking on behalf of the Development Agenda Group (DAG), raising the failure to approve “south-south” technical assistance.
  • JL: The initial presentations by “groups” in WIPO are quite important, as most countries negotiate in blocks. LDC countries speaking now.
  • JL: #WIPO Development Agenda Group (DAG) is fairly new. Like Group B, based upon economic interests, rather than geography.
  • JL: Last year, the US Ambassador for WIPO launched a number of aggressive and ineffective attacks on the DAG.
  • JL: The statements for regional and “other” groups is now done, and there is a break for lunch. Back at 3pm, for country statements.
  • JL: After returning from lunch, the WIPO General Assembly is hearing opening statements from member states. Lots of them.
  • JL: One of my favorite country statements was from India, and we will try to get a copy.
  • JL: Only a handful of non-government organizations are here today. Only a few consumer or industry groups.
  • JL: I count just 16 people right now from NGOs. I am sitting next to Jens Bammel, Secretary General of International Publishers Association.
  • JL: KEI, Third World Network (TWN) and World Blind Union will be here all week. Some other groups may come later in the week.
  • JL: WIPO expects copyright to come up Thursday or Friday. There is push to approve diplomatic conference for AV performances treaty.
  • JL: 4:30pm For everyone who thought the WIPO Broadcast treaty was dead, that is not true. It remains a mess, but lots of delegates to do some something.
  • General Statement of Brazil at WIPO General Assembly 2011
  • General Statement of Panamanian Ambassador on behalf of GRULAC at WIPO General Assembly 2011
  • General Statement of South African Ambassador on behalf of the African Group at WIPO General Assembly 2011
  • KEI Statement to WIPO GA on Advisory Committee on Enforcement
  • KEI comments on work of Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), WIPO GA 2011
  • KEI general statement to 49th WIPO General Assemblies, 27 September 2011
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