Centre for Internet & Society

Nehaa Chaudhari on behalf of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) made this statement at the WIPO-SCCR on December 20, 2013.

The Centre for Internet and Society believes in the universal access to knowledge/education for all, without the barriers of time, distance and costs. We believe that information and communication technologies provide us with the opportunities to achieve this universality for ALL learners, both, through formal and informal institutions and learning environments, in both, digital and non digital formats.

The adoption of limitations and exceptions for education and research is particularly significant from the perspective of developing and least developed nations, where prices of books and other learning material are high not just in absolute terms, but where consumers often have to commit higher proportions of their income to have access to these materials.

We are in agreement with some of the delegations before us, among others with Ecuador, Kenya and the African Group in our belief that the present international legal framework, does not sufficiently address the opportunities presented by these information and communication technologies. The compulsory licensing provisions in the Berne Appendix are complex, narrow, unworkable and of little value to developing nations.

We believe, therefore, Mr. Chair, that there is a need to adopt open ended exceptions for education, teaching and research compatible with the digital environment. In our opinion, Mister Chair, a narrow construction and application of the three step test to these limitations and exceptions would not be the ideal way forward especially for developing and least developed countries. We believe Mr. Chair, that these limitations and exceptions should be those that harmonize national practices; prescribe an international standard, facilitate a cross border exchange of books and other learning material.

Thank you, Mister Chair.

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