The WIPO SCCR meets twice a year. But what is WIPO? Who is Darren Tang? IPA will be posting daily blogs from the marathon five-day meeting. Acronyms will be flying. You can read our jargon-buster below. What can you expect from next week’s meeting?
- Politics: With 191 Member States, this is international multilateral diplomacy at its finest. And slowest. The agenda has been virtually static for some time and what constitutes ‘progress’ can be difficult to discern for unseasoned WIPO-watchers. Developed and developing nations have differing agendas when it comes to many aspects of IP policy and so there is always horse-trading. Draft Action Plans (DAPs) have been recently presented well ahead of the meeting so progress is possible but is it in the direction we hoped for?
- Broadcasting: Point 1 on the agenda (as it has been for some time), the Broadcasting Treaty proposal was launched way back in 1996. A diplomatic conference to finalise the treaty is starting to look like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. IPA believes that concluding discussions on the Broadcasting Treaty would be a good thing if other Creative Sector Organisations (CSOs) concerns can be ironed out.
- Exceptions and Limitations (Es and Ls): Discussions on Es and Ls are three-pronged in nature: libraries and archives, educational uses, museums. The potential impact on the livelihood of publishers (as demonstrated by what happened in 2012 in Canada) is huge. It is vital that the international publishing community has a voice in this forum to defend copyright as the foundation of the industry and efficient affordable licensing as the solution to many of the needs in both developed and developing Member States.
Our first WIPO blog will be out on Monday evening. You can refresh your memory of what happened last time here.
WIPO: The World Intellectual Property Organisation. A self-funded agency of the United Nations with 191 Member States (MS) dealing with all types of largely intellectual property (IP). Most of the self-funding comes from income from the registration of international patents. Its work on copyright is mainly normative (i.e. treaty making) but also includes the guided development of national law. The Berne Convention, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the Marrakesh Treaty are examples of WIPO instruments.
SCCR: The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, which meets twice a year, usually in May and November, for 5-day meetings.
Es and Ls: Exceptions and Limitations (to copyright), currently a standing agenda item of the SCCR.
CSO: Creative Sector Organisations – a loose grouping of organisations from the publishing, music and film and other sectors, coordinated by the IPA.
ABC: The Accessible Books Consortium. A formal stakeholder platform primarily financed by WIPO to develop the availability of published works in accessible formats around the world. The board consists of representatives of copyright holders and print disabled communities. IPA is an active and founding participant.
Other WIPO committees are the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property Rights (CDIP), Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) on Intellectual Property (IP) and Genetic Resources (GR), Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (TK), which also encompasses Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCE), as well as the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) and the Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS).
Francis Gurry: WIPO Director General (DG) since October 2008. Worked for over 20 years in the WIPO secretariat before becoming DG.
Sylvie Forbin: WIPO Deputy Director General (DDG) since 2016. Her early career was as a French diplomat. She joined WIPO after 15 years as Senior Vice President for Public and European Affairs for Vivendi.
Darren Tang: Chairman of the SCCR, CEO of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.
The WIPO groups
WIPO Member States are also organised into groupings (either regional or economic):
- Africa Group
- Asia-Pacific Group (APG)
- Central Asian, Caucasus and Eastern European Countries Group (CACEEC)
- Central European and Baltic States Group (CEBS)
- Group B (Developed countries (including North America, Western Europe, Autralia New Zealand, Japan, Turkey and Israel), so-called because they use meeting room B).
- Latin American and Caribbean Countries Group (GRULAC)
The Broadcasting Treaty: Negotiations started in 1996 (following adoption of the WIPO Internet Treaties) to protect broadcasters signals in the light of new technologies. Over two decades later discussions are ongoing.
Informals: Off-site meetings used to resolve points of contention (e.g. language in a proposed text) away from the stiffness of the plenary chamber. They take place in a separate chamber on the WIPO campus and are strictly for country delegations only. NGOs are not invited, but can follow the audio feed from the plenary chamber provided they do not report publicly what is said.
Side-events: Events and presentations organised by groups or stakeholders during the breaks around the official SCCR agenda.