On Friday, 20 April 2018 WIPO published a document (SCCR/26/3) entitled “Draft Action Plans on Limitations and Exceptions Through SCCR/39 (2nd Meeting in 2019)”. The draft action plans were prepared by Daren Tang (Singapore), the Chair of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR).
As reported in an exclusive with IP-Watch on 2 May 2018 (The Changing Copyright Climate And WIPO: Interview With IPOS Chief Executive Daren Tang), the Chair provide the following insight in to the draft action plans:
IPW: What about limitations and exceptions to copyright for libraries and archives, educational and research institutions?
TANG: One of the issues relating to limitations and exceptions was the draft action plans. Members wanted the Chair to be involved in drafting them, and there were requests for them to be sent more in advance of the meeting. I have been working with the Secretariat on this, and we should be able to circulate the new draft action plans quite shortly, which will give more time for delegates to consider them. (Source: IP-Watch, The Changing Copyright Climate And WIPO: Interview With IPOS Chief Executive Daren Tang, 2 May 2018
Document SCCR/36/3 contains 2 draft action plans: 1) Draft Action Plan – Libraries, Archives, and Museums and 2) Draft Action Plan – Educational and Research Institutions and Persons with Other Disabilities. The draft action plan on libraries, archives, and museums proposes six action items.
The first deliverable tasks WIPO with developing a typology of existing legislative and mechanism related to the application of copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries by November 2018 in time for SCCR 38. This deliverable tasks WIPO with drawing up a typology of existing legislative and mechanisms related to the application of limitations and exceptions for archives and museums by May/June 2019. The chair notes that the typology could focus on themes common across all beneficiary institutions: “conservation, access, and exploitation of works, particularly in the digital environment”. (Source: SCCR/36/3)
The second action item is for WIPO to commission and undertake a scoping study focused on archives to be completed by SCCR 38 (May/June 2019). The first draft of this study is expected to be completed by November 2018 for SCCR 37.
The third action item is for WIPO to complete its ongoing scoping study on museums by November 2018.
The fourth deliverable is for the Committee to conduct a “brainstorming exercise on libraries with professionals and respective stakeholders including publishers and consumers” including identifying topics that would “benefit from further work at the international level (e.g. cross-border e-lending).” (Source: SCCR/36/3). The brainstorming exercise for libraries is scheduled for the first half of 2019 with a report back to SCCR 38 (May/June 2019). A detailed footnote in this section notes that brainstorming exercises for archives and museums would be proposed to Member States following the completion of the respective studies on archives and museums. Pending approval from the Committee, these brainstorming exercises could take place in the 2020-2021 biennium.
The fifth action item is for WIPO to convene “up to two regional seminars upon request, with SCCR Members and stakeholders” with the objective of analyzing the “situation of libraries, archives, and museums as well as educational and research institutions, and areas for action with respect to the limitations and exceptions regime.” (Source: Ibid). These regional seminars are scheduled for 2019. A footnote in this section provides the following clarification on persons with disabilities:
Persons with other disabilities is not included in the list of topics for the seminars because the work on the subject has not progressed as far as the work on other limitations and exceptions at this time(the proposed activities on persons with other disabilities would not be completed before the first regional seminar takes place). (Source: Ibid).
Based on the work of the scoping studies, regional seminars and brainstorming exercise, action item six directs the Secretariat to convene a conference in the second half of 2019 (prior to SCCR 39 in November/December 2019) on limitations and exceptions (including the subjects of libraries,archives,and museums as well as educational and research institutions) in relation to copyright and related rights, gathering SCCR Members and stakeholders.” (Source: Ibid). The objective of this WIPO conference would be to “consider the opportunities and challenges provided by various international solutions including soft law, contractual/licensing and normative approaches, as appropriate.” [Emphasis added].
The draft action plan for educational and research institutions and persons with other disabilities contains five action items. The first action item tasks WIPO with developing a “typology of various existing legislative and other mechanisms related to the application of the limitations and exceptions regime to educational and research institutions” by the second half of 2018 in time for SCCR 37 (November 2018). (Source: Ibid).
The second action items calls upon WIPO to commission a study on “digital issues at stake for the activities of educational and research institutions at the national and international level, including the aspects related to limitations and exceptions. The study would cover areas such as the availability of e-learning modules and the development and operation of distance learning including MOOCs, and would identify possible areas that would benefit from further work at the international level.” (Source: Ibid). This action item also calls for the update of the Reid/Ncube Scoping Study on Access to Copyright Protected Works by Persons with Disabilities (SCCR/35/3). These action items are scheduled for completion by the first half of 2019 in time for SCCR 38 (May/June 2019).
The third action item requests WIPO to conduct up to two regional seminars for educational and research institutions in combination with the regional seminars envisioned in the draft action plan for libraries, archives, and museums.
The fourth action item requests WIPO to convene a conference on limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions (See action item six under the draft action plan for libraries, archives, and museums).
The fifth action item requests WIPO to convene a side event at SCCR 38 (May/June 2019) on the “subject of persons with other disabilities in order to showcase innovative accessibility solutions with special emphasis on education and audiovisual works, including reports on cutting-edge experimental solutions and current research approaches in this field.”
Stephen Wyber from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) had the following response to the draft action plan on libraries, archives and museums:
The push for action is welcome. If the agreed plans focus on new, practical steps, SCCR will finally start to deliver on its mission to make a difference for those who depend on a modern copyright regime.