Centre for Internet & Society

Anubha Sinha, attending the 34th Session of the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (“SCCR”) at Geneva from 1 May, 2017 to 5 May, 2017, made this statement during the discussion on limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

CIS works on issues of access to knowledge and other digital rights in India.

I would like to share with you my experience which highlights the difficulty of building digital archives in India. Mr. Chair, earlier last year the government of India embarked upon the important project of digitizing the cultural audiovisual material stored in government and private collections  to store material for preservation purposes, and set up a virtual network of these repositories to offer online access. My organization has been assisting them in this crucial public service mission.  These works are oral traditions, dance, music, theatrical practices, cultural practices – all of which lie largely inaccessible and languishing in several small and large collections in India. Since, the Indian copyright Act does not contain an exception for the purposes of preservation by an archive; the entire project has suffered high costs in terms of money and time. Money, because the project had to get expensive legal assistance to set up processes to obtain rights clearance from all the performers who were a part of the works and copyright holders- some of which are orphan works, thereby compounding the problem. Further, partnering organizations also expressed legitimate fears of supplying their works, in case of a potential copyright and related rights violation that could implicate them with civil/criminal liability.

In such a scenario, for the benefit of other states to update their standards corresponding to this international legal instrument as well, it would indeed be useful to adopt the proposals mentioned in the document SCCR/26/3 that address these issues, and others.

Thank you.



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