Centre for Internet & Society

Nehaa Chaudhari on behalf of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) on December 11 during one of the sessions in WIPO asked two questions to Prof. Kenneth Crews.

In 2008, WIPO commissioned a study on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives.This was prepared by Prof. Kenneth Crews. On December 10-11, 2014, at SCCR 29, Prof. Crews presented an updated (2014) version of this study and addressed comments and questions from Member States and Observers.

CIS Statement:

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you very much, Professor Crews for your presentation yesterday, and for this comprehensive study on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives, very timely, and very important to us, from the perspective of access to knowledge and information.

I have two questions:

My first question: Did you find, in your examination, that, in terms of/ or on the question of limitations and exceptions, did you find, that there was an equal or equitable treatment of digital resources in comparison to resources available in more traditional formats? And if not, where do you think that lever of change lies to ensure that fair dealing provisions are extended equitably to the digital environment as well?

My second question, is on the interoperability of Limitations and Exceptions: Given that copyright is a very national thing, and, as your study has also well established, countries have a whole range of very diverse approaches and practices on Limitations and Exceptions; but also given that we live in an increasingly globalized world, we need a system that is interoperable with respect to the trans-boundary movement of works, with as little friction as possible, both- in the physical as well as in the digital environments. So, what did your examination show us of how interoperable- or not- the range of Limitations and Exceptions actually are?

Those are my two questions.

Thank you very much.

Response by Prof. Kenneth Crews:

Thank you very much. On the second question, I'm afraid I might mind myself only repeating some of the concepts that have already said about transborder and really about in the statutes anyway, a lack of recognition of transborder. And the transborder concept, so I will add this piece to the conversation, the transborder concept seldom if ever appears in these library exceptions to the extent that we are going to find it in copyright law or some other part of a national law it may very well be over in the import/export kind -- area of the law. But that also goes to the interoperability which think we have answered a few times just this sort -- the lack of exact harmonization and as others have reminded me I have said before that I may not be a fan of exact precise harmonization and indeed it may not be possible or even desirable. But some degree of harmonization can help with that interoperability. Interesting question, you do -- you did raise a new point about digital. We have talked several times in this conversation about use of digital technologies in the exercise of the rights of use under the exception. However what I think you were asking about is the ability to apply the exception to works that are digital in the first place that are what we call born digital and that's a very interesting question. The statutes do not address that. Sometimes you will see a statute that refers to -- that says it applies to all these different kinds of works but not computer software. That tells you somebody was thinking it shouldn't apply to software but somehow software is different and there are problems with that. We know that software has changed and been incorporated in to many different works. But we generally see a statute almost always see a statute that's about books or archival materials or some other kind of work without specifying the technology. So can it apply to an e-book in addition to the paper book? The statutes don't go there. They don't sort that out. So in my common law tradition I look at that and see that as a question for interpretation. In a civil code system I might look at it and see it a little bit more firmly for lack of a better word about what the scope of that word book, for example, really means.

Really good question. And it is one that the statutes have not picked up on.

Thank you very much.

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