IFLA CLM Chair Winston Tabb confers at WIPO with (right to left): Chris Friend (World Blind Union), Teresa Hackett (Electronic Information for Libraries) and Luis Villaroel (Corporation Innovarte)

The 21st Session of the World Intellectual Property Organisation's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) took place in Geneva between November 8th and 12th 2010. The previous session ended without result as member states were unable to agree on the conclusions of the meeting, in particular wording relating to exceptions and limitations. Four different proposals to tackle the issue were on the table and there was no agreement on which one should proceed. IFLA and the other library delegations in attendance were dismayed at this turn of events and were eager for the November meeting to offer a positive result in favour of a work programme for copyright exceptions and limitations for the visually impaired, libraries and archives, and education.

At SCCR 21 IFLA was represented by Winston Tabb, Stuart Hamilton, and Barbara Stratton. The international library community representatives also included Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL – Teresa Hackett and Kathy Matsika), the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA – Janice Pilch), and the Canadian Library Association (CLA – Victoria Owen). Colleagues from the archive community were also represented for the first time at SCCR, with Tim Padfield from the International Council on Archives in attendance.

As with SCCR 20, the following agenda items were addressed:

  1. A broadcasting treaty
  2. A treaty covering audio-visual performances
  3. Limitations and exceptions (L&E)

Noting the Committee's failure to reach a conclusion in June, items 1 and 2 were quickly dealt with during the first day of the meeting, leaving delegates free to concentrate on removing the impasse connected to item 3. In connection to this item, library and archive groups made the following statements:

There was a large amount of non-plenary work during the week, as member states sought to agree on a workplan for exceptions and limitations and language for the conclusions. The final plenary session on Friday evening was scheduled to start at 9pm but delegates returned just after midnight. In this session library groups received the positive news that exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives were confirmed as second place in line, after the print disabled, for focused discussions at WIPO. The meeting conclusions, available here, show that library issues are now scheduled for three full days of discussion by the Member States at the SCCR meeting in November 2011. There remains a huge amount of work to be done to ensure a successful outcome for libraries but SCCR 21 concluded on a favourable note for all the library groups in attendance.