The WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights ended its 16th session today, agreeing upon a set of conclusions that have yet to be published by the WIPO Secretariat.
In sum, though, the broadcast treaty remains on the agenda for future WIPO meetings. Also, the delegations agreed to work on limitations and exceptions in the future, but not necessarily towards a treaty.
Later in the afternoon, the delegates made statements on what they thought the future work of the committee should be. On the topic of the broadcast treaty, the United States, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, said that the unfinished business of the broadcast treaty and the audiovisual treaty should remain an important issue for the discussion of the committee. Earlier today, the United States also noted that, although progress had been made towards understanding the different positions of nations, there were fundamental disagreements on the objectives, specific scope, and objects of protection of the treaty. Despite this, the US delegation believed that the broadcast treaty should remain on the agenda.
A number of delegations who have supported the broadcast treaty for a while asked to keep the broadcast treaty on the agenda, and also went further by asking that the Committee try to get to a treaty as soon as possible. Some delegations, notably India, Brazil, and Australia, expressed deeper reservations regarding the lack of consensus, noting that the Committee was required by the General Assembly to reach agreement on objectives, specific scope, and objects of protection before getting to a treaty. This, according to those delegations, didn't seem to have happened.
Australia, earlier in the day, also expressed an appreciation for the lack of consensus. The delegation expressed support for continued work on the treaty, but also noted the oddity that might appear to “outsiders” of trying to protect a broadcast that is distributed free-to-air.
While all delegations agreed that limitations and exceptions are important, and most, if not all, thought it was a good idea to begin exchanging information on national practices on limitations and exceptions. However some delegations, including quite strenuously the United States, objected that there was no consensus on the following two steps of the proposed plan: analyzing the exceptions and limitations necessary to promote innovation; and agreeing upon minimum exceptions and limitations in a treaty.
UPDATE: at least part of the final conclusions have been transcribed by Gwen Hinze of EFF and Teresa Hackett of EIFL. The text of the section on exceptions and limitations is reproduced below:
LANGUAGE ADOPTED ON EXCEPTIONS AND LIMITATIONS
Brazil, Chile, Nicaragua and Uruguay presented a proposal which
elaborated further the proposal by the delegation of Chile
Many of the delegations who took the floor supported the proposal, in
whole or in part.
Other delegations expressed support or opposition to specific
elements of document SCCR/13/5, which are reflected in their
interventions in the report of the meeting.
Several delegations underlined the need for speedy action to improve
the access of visually impaired persons to protected works.
– The Secretariat was requested to make, in addition to the
existing study reports, a study on exceptions and limitations for the
benefit of educational activities, including distance education and
the trans-border aspect in it.
– The Secretariat was requested to organize, in conjunction
with the next session of the SCCR, an informative session on existing
and forthcoming studies.
– The Committee will consider a more detailed work plan on this
item in its next session.
– The matter will be maintained on the agenda of the next
session of the SCCR.