Centre for Internet & Society

The 27th Session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights is being held in Geneva from April 28, 2014 to May 2, 2014. Nehaa Chaudhari, on behalf of CIS made the following statement on May 1, 2014.

This statement was in response to the Chairperson seeking NGO inputs specifically on "Orphan Works, Retracted and Withdrawn Works, and Works Out of Commerce", which is topic 7 of Working Document SCCR 26/3.

Thank you very much, Mister Chair.

Mister Chair, we will be addressing this topic on two levels:

First, the need for limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives for orphan, retracted and withdrawn works and works out of commerce.

Second, the need for these limitations and exceptions to be a part of an international legal instrument.

On the first level, Mr. Chair- we are of the opinion that this limitation and exception is necessary for libraries and archives to be able to perform their key functions- the preservation and dissemination of knowledge.

This exception speaks to a very complex environment- One where  the owner of a work cannot be located despite an exhaustive search and therefore digitazation cannot take place because to do so would be copyright infringment; one where the volumes of works that we’re speaking of are anywhere between 10 and 70 percent of the collections of some libraries (these figures are based on  reports released by various libraries, library associations and others, that are available online); one, where rights information of works is lacking; and an environment where works have been withdrawn for a variety of reasons. The outcome which commonly arises as a result of all of these is that works are not available to the public, in turn affecting access to and the dissemination of knowledge and information, which is one of the basic purposes of copyright. Any interpretation or understanding of copyright ought to be one that aids in the achievement of this purpose, as opposed to deviating from it.

On the second level, Mr. Chair- we believe that there is a need for an international legal instrument to govern these limitations and exceptions.

We have heard the statements made to this Committee by various Hon’ble delegations today and at earlier sessions of this Committee. What emerges, as KEI said earlier, is that there is a lack of uniformity in national legislations and approaches in addressing this issue. What also emerges is that the current copyright framework in some developing and least developed countries does not adequately address these issues. Therefore, Mr. Chair, as we have stated at earlier Sessions of this Committee- to be able to harmonize these limitations and exceptions, to ensure that these limitations and exceptions have a cross border effect, and hopefully to have discussions that we have here are influence national law making and state practice (also, as KEI said earlier), we believe that an international legal instrument that deals with among others the exception we are discussing in Topic 7, is very important.

That’s all we have to say at the moment, Mr. Chair. Thank you very much.

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