4 October 2018
Copyright, Access and the SDGs: IFLA at the WIPO General Assembly
The World Intellectual Property Organisation’s annual General Assembly saw exciting announcements around the Marrakesh Treaty, welcome support for better laws for libraries, archives and museums, and an emphasis, from Member States, on the need for intellectual property laws to support development.
IFLA attended the 2018 General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organisation on 24 September – 2 October in Geneva. This is an opportunity for ministers and senior officials responsible for intellectual property to meet, set priorities for the Organisation, and take key decisions.
Significantly, it is also a moment for countries to announce their adherence to WIPO’s Treaties. As the Director General, Francis Gurry, underlined, the Marrakesh Treaty is the fastest moving of these.
The Treaty removes barriers to access to information for people with print disabilities. In one day, the European Union (including 28 Member States) and Japan both ratified, almost doubling the number of countries covered.
IFLA welcomes ratifications these developments, which are a vital step towards achieving concrete outcomes for people. It will be important to follow up with effective national legislation, and support libraries in their implementation. IFLA has updated its monitoring of national laws on Marrakesh, and produced a practical guide for libraries answering key questions around making use of the Treaty.
Continued Support for Libraries
The Assembly also discussed work at the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), where exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives are on the agenda. Many member states spoke up in favour of meaningful action to support our institutions in their work. Discussions around the action plans agreed at the last meeting will continue in November.
There are some concerns, meanwhile, around a proposed Treaty on broadcasting, which currently does not offer enough protection for the exceptions and limitations libraries need to carry out their public interest missions. An IFLA brief provides further information.
IFLA, as always, is grateful to Member States at WIPO for their support, and looks forward to working further with them to make progress for libraries at all levels.