Organizations and pressure groups involved in intellectual property rights and global copyright issues for libraries and archives expressed disappointment after the inconclusive conclusion of the Twenty-Eighth Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.”the Committee continued discussion to work towards an appropriate international legal instrument or instruments (whether model law, joint recommendation, treaty and/or other forms) in relation to limitations and exceptions [on customary copyright restrictions] for libraries and archives,” stated the chair’s conclusions, but “there was no agreement on recommendations to the WIPO General Assembly.”
Little progress appears to have been made on a working document originally submitted to the Twenty-Sixth Session in December 2013. A statement from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), entitled “Libraries and archives leave international copyright discussions empty handed after countries again fail to reach agreement,” remarked that: ” It was a frustrating end to the week for library and archive organisations who had flown into Geneva from around the world to participate in the discussions, and an all-too-familiar repeat of the collapse of the last meeting of the SCCR in April 2014. This time, disagreement on conclusions for SCCR 28 was widespread among Member States, and not confined to the issue of copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives.”
ILFA’s original statement to the Twenty-Eighth Session declared that: “common, cross-border library and archives activities are essential for support for research and human development.” A key stumbling block in the discussions appears to have been disagreement over broad U.S.-proposed non-binding “principles,” whose “failure to address the growing cross-border challenges facing libraries and archives in the digital environment was brought up repeatedly by countries including India, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, South Africa and Bangladesh.”
Human development appears to have taken a small step backwards at Geneva this month – apparently thanks, once again, to copyright lobbies.