KEI comment on SCCR 24

The final conclusions of SCCR 24 are available here.

I’m going to spend some time adding to this, but to have something out quick, here are few thoughts.

1. Disabilities.

The Good: sets the stage for diplomatic conference in 2013, which is now highly likely.
The Bad: Lots of brackets in the text, and EU bent on making the agreement unworkable, and the US and EU hold off on the “nature of the instrument” is a treaty discussion.

The positions of the US and the EU were controlled by big publishing corporations at this meeting. In the US case it is about Obama wanting to raise cash from publishers, and compromising on human rights to do so. For the EU, it is about the EC staff feeling it is free to operate in secret and ignore the democratically elected parliament. That said, the US and EU have lost the argument in the SCCR, and everyone knows there is no resolution to this issue at WIPO without a diplomatic conference and a treaty. Most delegates believe there will be a diplomatic conference, and a treaty next year, and the weak language in this meeting conclusions was seen as a temporary face saving delay of that outcome.

2. Broadcasting. Given the massive difficulties the blind face in getting the word treaty used, it was impressive how rapidly the SCCR endorsed the idea of a diplomatic conference for broadcasting organizations, when the proposal was really thrown together on the fly this week, and makes almost no sense, since it contains parts of at least three very different approaches, and no one can explain the problem it is supposed to solve, or how the treaty solves that problem. Apparently WIPO has one standard for the one percent, and other for blind people.

3. Education. The education, research and libraries issues are doing better than many expected, that is reflected in the conclusions. In the halls, many delegates really think they can have some type of a2k treaty done in 2015. They certainly are on their way to developing a document that includes very ambitious provisions. The earlier USA threat to blow up the whole meeting over education never materialized.

4. The substantive discussions on various treaty texts will be quite challenging, for everyone.

Lessons for future negotiators

Lesson 1
How do the US and EU introduce text that runs counter to domestic legislation? Have it done in the informals, where there is no record of who proposes what.

Lesson 2
How do you avoid having to indicate a county position on having a treaty for blind people? Have the US and EU tell the Chairman to ignore requests to discuss country views on the nature of the instrument. Kill any mention of a treaty in the informals.