In October 2019, IAF attended the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR39) in Geneva.
As with previous years the SCCR the agenda continued work on the Broadcasting Treaty and Copyright Limitations and Exceptions. The regular sitting of the SCCR was preceded by a conference on Limitations and Exceptions to review the results of the WIPO regional meetings on access to copyright-protected works. There was significant debate over the next steps that WIPO should take, leading to the WIPO secretariat resolving to provide an updated report ahead of the next SCCR outlining next steps. IAF has made a statement on the challenges for authors on this part of the SCCR agenda, where some interest groups are advocating for major action that does not consider the creative ecosystem authors work within.
IAF supported the ongoing work of the Artist’s Resale Right task force at WIPO and although its promotion to having a standing position on the SCCR agenda was blocked by Japan and the US, it seems hopeful that this is the next area of work the SCCR will fully engage with. The WIPO Chair noted that while there has been a swell of vocal support for more work on Resale Right, the taskforce is looking for more input from national delegations to WIPO. We would therefore advise all IAF members, if possible, to speak to their country’s WIPO representation about Resale Right.
A key development at this SCCR was the introduction of Public Lending Right (PLR) to the floor of the SCCR by the delegation of Sierra Leone. The intervention from Sierra Leone set out how PLR is a simple, low-cost way for governments to support all kinds of authors and stressed the importance of supporting authors. Urging WIPO to consider how it can promote the spread of PLR beyond Europe, Sierra Leone proposed that WIPO supports a study on PLR systems around the world. IAF was glad to have the opportunity to speak in support of this and hopes that work will go ahead with PLR in upcoming SCCR meetings.
Some the key side events at WIPO featured contracts and ebook licensing. Yoshua Yuvaraj and Rebecca Giblin of the Author’s Interest project presented on common points of concern in authors’ contracts, particularly with regards to rights reversion. Research by Author’s Interest suggests that important rights are frequently missing from contracts and can be drafted ambiguously and inconsistently. IAF supports calls for better measures rights reversion and it is a feature of our Ten Principles of Fair Contracts. It is important that authors have the power to regain control of the rights to their work when it makes sense.
In partnership with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Rebecca Giblin and Kimberlee Weatherall presented research on ebook lending. The research is ongoing but findings so far suggest that insufficient resourcing in developing licenses have led to most book licenses not being tailored to the nature of the book which can be detrimental to the author, suggesting a greater need for transparency and engagement with authors in how their work is licensed.
Read IAF’s statement on SCCR39 here.
Read IAF’s statement on Limitations and Exceptions here.
Read IAF’s statement on Artist’s Resale Right here.
Read IAF’s statement on Public Lending Right here.