On 16-20 November 2020, the fortieth session of the Committee on Copyright and Related Rights of the World Intellectual Property Organization will begin. The sessions will take place every day from 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm (CET).

An important meeting in a pandemic context

In the context of a global pandemic, WIPO has needed to be flexible, and so is organizing, in agreement with its members, an online meeting to continue discussions on the agenda developed previously at the last meeting in October 2019.

The World Intellectual Property Organization is a unique organization. It has the capacity to propose actions (declarations, treaties and other normative forms) that are not only national or regional, but also international, as the Treaty of Marrakesh shows.

WIPO also provides an important advocacy opportunity to exchange with member delegates about the role and activities of libraries. IFLA hopes that this approach will facilitate the updating of related copyright legislation at the international level. The current inadequacies in copyright legislation regarding the public service missions of libraries hinder their transition to the digital world, especially on the issue of reproduction copies for heritage preservation and access.

IFLA also continues to work on educational and research issues. These are key issues in the context of the global pandemic where many countries have had to face the challenge of bringing educational activities online. Adaptation of – or flexibility in – the copyright legal framework in times of pandemic is necessary to enable libraries, archives, museums, and educational and research institutions to continue their work online without depending on the goodwill of stakeholders and the non-enforcement of existing laws.

Given this important workload, a particular priority will be to avoid expanding the agenda, given that this is likely to dilute efforts to deliver positive change.