Centre for Internet & Society

Nehaa Chaudhari, attending the 28th Session of the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (“SCCR”) at Geneva from 30 June, 2014 to 04 July, 2014, made this statement on the Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives on behalf of CIS on Day 4, 03 July, 2014.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

We thank the delegation of the United States for putting forward their Objectives and Principles for Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives, presented to this Committee in Document SCCR/ 26/8. I would like to comment on two of the topics that we have discussed today- one; the adoption of national exceptions and two; limitations and exceptions in a digital environment.

First, Mr. Chair, on the adoption of national exceptions: We appreciate the recognition of the ‘public service’ role of libraries and the importance of limitations and exceptions for them to perform their role of facilitating access to and the dissemination of knowledge and information, the goals of the copyright system. However, Mr. Chair, we do believe that the true and complete realization of these objectives would not be possible without an international legal instrument that lays out minimum international standards for countries to adopt and implement, that fosters a system for cross border exchange and creates an enabling environment to facilitate the implementation and adoption of limitations and exceptions at the national level.

Second, Mr. Chair, on limitations and exceptions in a digital environment; we appreciate the objective set out in the proposal made by the United States and welcome the statements by the delegations of Kenya, Chile and South Africa, that international regulation will grant a solution to the problems facing libraries and archives in the digital environment. Mr. Chair, the digital environment presents huge opportunities for countries such as India and perhaps others in the Global South for the preservation and dissemination of knowledge and in turn benefit education and research; with libraries and archives playing a crucial role. The digital environment, Mr. Chair, also presents a fair share of challenges. These include as IFLA, CLA, EIFL, IAB, the Karisma Foundation and others have also stated- multiplicity and complexity of licenses to be negotiated with various rights holders, the mandated use of particular platforms by publishers, difficulties in obtaining copyright clearances and limitations on remote access to name a few. Additional challenges are placed by technological measures of protection, (something that we also spoke about in our submission at the previous session of this Committee; where technological measures of protection often placed on master copies of files obtained by libraries and archives prevent basic preservation activities such as file format migration and limit the ways in which end users can utilize the work in question, rendering redundant, fair use or fair dealing provisions.

Therefore, Mr. Chair, we are of the opinion that an international legal instrument addressing the challenges faced by libraries and archives in the digital environment is necessary and the way forward for members of this Committee- and existing mechanisms in national laws of those nations that do have them are insufficient.


Videos of the WIPO's proceedings from June 30, 2014 to July 04, 2014  are available online. To view CIS' Statement, select 'Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights: Twenty-Eighth Session- June 30 to July 4, 2014 (Geneva, Switzerland)' from the drop-down list of videos. CIS' Statement is in the video titled SCCR/28- Thurs3 - English - Afternoon session. The length of the video is 02:13:52. The statement is available in this video from 01:38:46
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