SCCR32, Day 5: African Group statement on copyright limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions

African Group Statement on Agenda Item 7
Thirty-Second Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR)

11 May 2016

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

Nigeria has the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Africa Group.

2. The Group believes that participants in this Committee do not question the manifest and fundamental role of education and knowledge for mankind’s ability to exist and add value to its immediate environment and the global ecosystem. We also welcome the acknowledgement of Intellectual Property (IP) as relevant to sustainable development, and note that the exception principle is sine qua non in the international IP system. This latter, by itself, was founded on the need to balance the interest of rights holders and the public interest, thus underscoring the important role of practicable IP frameworks as vehicles for achieving agreed international development goals.

3. The vital role of education to progressive peoples and societies is encapsulated in the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 4, which calls for collective efforts to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. The digital environment has evolved the way education and knowledge can be accessed beyond the walls of a classroom or a specific space. In so doing, it has also wrought more challenges for accessing learning opportunities for the public interest in a remarkable number of developing and least developed countries, including the African region.

4. We consider that inclusiveness and partnerships will be critical to meeting the exception needs of educational, teaching and research institutions being discussed in the SCCR. To our mind, this would imply facilitating the intellectual resource potentially reposed in all who can access and use acquired knowledge for self- development and for society. To this end, the African Group would like to renew the call for focused textual work towards an international legal instrument on educational exceptions that would fulfil the objectives of the 2012 General Assembly mandate on this topic.

5. It is important to underscore, again, that the African Group does not have a view that the intellectual rigour and resources of rights holders should be indiscriminately breached in the quest to make knowledge and information accessible to demandeurs. Rather, the call is to take necessary steps to promote access to information through a fair and just modification of the existing international copyright frameworks with the objective of promoting intellectual freedom, human and societal development – basic tenets of the international IP system.

6. The African Group will continue to engage constructively in this discussion and looks forward to discussing the consolidated text prepared by the African Group, Brazil, Ecuador, India and Uruguay. We also reiterate our request for the preparation of a chart, similar to same prepared for the Committee’s discussion on Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives, to serve as a useful tool to provide structure and better understanding of the topics and their utility in the discourse. We would equally welcome the sharing of national experiences by Member States as useful information resource for the Committee’s work.

7. Finally, we would like to reaffirm our support for the Chair’s proposal to hold regional meetings on Exceptions and Limitations, and to include exceptions and limitations for education, teaching and research institutions. We would also appreciate information on the progress of the scoping study on exceptions for Persons with Disabilities other than Print.

8. I thank you.