28 June 2021

IFLA joins the 41st session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights

The 41st session of the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR41) will take place from 28th July to 1st June. This meeting has an agenda that encompasses rights for broadcasters, exceptions and limitations for libraries, archives, museums, educational and research institutions, and a range of other items.

The COVID19 pandemic has reduced WIPO’s ability to hold international physical meetings, and so advance concrete negotiations or hold detailed negotiations. However, IFLA keeps looking ahead and is ready to help lay the path towards a better legal framework for libraries in the longer term.

The 41st session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights will start with the discussion on a proposed Treaty giving rights to broadcasters. This will be followed by a discussion focused on the report prepared by the WIPO Secretariat following the Regional Seminars and International Conference in 2019 on limitations and exceptions.

This will provide an opportunity for Member States and observers not only to consider the lessons of work done in 2019, but also to consider the situation of cultural, educational and research institutions in the light of the COVID19 pandemic.

The obligation on libraries to close their physical spaces has shone a light on the inexistence or inadequacy of current copyright laws in many countries, preventing them from carrying out their missions of lending books to support users (students, children and professionals). Yet many of these issues are not new, having already been felt outside the pandemic. Member States have an opportunity to steer WIPO’s work to ensure that these concerns are addressed.

Looking to SCCR’s longer-term agenda, a key part of the missions of libraries is to ensure that heritage is preserved, protected from the effects of time. The Committee has a role in helping to ensure that copyright does not create unnecessary barriers to allowing the making of copies for preservation purposes.

This is a pressing question, as the effect of time is not the only risk. The world has already seen new challenges through climate change. Therefore IFLA remains active to promote the necessity of moving forward on copyright provisions to allow heritage preservation - and access to preserved content - including across borders

Another point of the agenda is formulated under “Other items”. A number of delegations called, during SCCR40, for a study on the benefits of Public Lending Rights. IFLA is supportive of fair remuneration for creators through the most effective means. Possibilities to do this include rights reversion, the development of tools to have better negotiating capacities with publishers, and direct and indirect subsidies.

However, IFLA is opposed to the introduction of Public Lending Right in developing countries, as it risks having an impact on the budget  for libraries, and so on access to reading literacy programs, access to information and knowledge.

IFLA calls for reframing the study to include other means to support authors and have a more detailed and balanced study. 

The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights will be webcast here.

IFLA Statement on Broadcasting [PDF, MS Word]

IFLA Statement on Exceptions and Limitations to Copyright [PDF, MS Word]

IFLA Statement on Public Lending Right [PDF, MS Word]

Copyright exceptions and limitations

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