Following an eventful week of discussions, the 43rd meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR/43) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ended with several advances important for libraries. IFLA was proud to join partner organisations in attended as an observing organization.

In particular, the adoption of a revised version of the African Group’s work program on copyright limitations and exceptions (L&E) will support the development of laws, tools and greater international coordination to support libraries to preserve and share books and other media.

As outlined in a recent IFLA report, international coordination remains a pressing challenge for libraries. The work program also takes steps toward addressing developing  rights-related topics in research, including open science initiatives and Text & Data mining.

Outcomes include:

The L&E work program outlined plans for continued “discussion of proposed provisions by Member States” in order:

“a. to ensure that all laws enable the preservation activities of libraries, archives, and museums, including the use of preserved materials across borders;

b. to promote the adaptation of exceptions to the online and cross border environment, such as by permitting teaching, learning and research through digital and online tools; and

c. to review implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty and how to ensure that people with other disabilities (also covered by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) can benefit from similar protections, in particular in order to benefit from new technologies.”

Other provisions include the development of toolkits to exchange best practices and laws “which support education, research and preservation of cultural heritage”; an expert panel at the next SCCR meeting on cross-border uses of copyrighted works; and information exchange regarding Text & Data Mining and the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science (2021).

The authors of the Toolkit on Preservation (Kenneth D. Crews, Rina Elster Pantalony, and David Sutton) discussed the work in a panel, reinforcing the value in the rights of libraries and other cultural institutions to preserve content in their collections and underlining the necessity of legal support for these practices.

IFLA has been involved in the preparation of this toolkit, alongside colleagues from the library, archive, museum and rightholder sectors, and it promises to bring welcome clarity to discussions about provisions for preservation in national copyright laws.

The Committee continued discussions of the artist’s resale right and copyright in the digital environment.

As reported in an InfoJustice blog post, “James Love, a long time observer of the Committee, described the outcome and the strength of the public interest community as being the strongest since the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty.” The Marrakesh Treaty, signed in 2013, supports production of books for visually-impaired persons.

Having met annually in recent years, the Committee agreed to meet for a second, abbreviated SCCR session in 2023 starting 6 Nov.

More information – including blog posts from attendees – will follow on IFLA’s website.