ICA Promotes Archival Interests at WIPO

Jean Dryden, ICA Representative to SCCR33 | 4 January 2017

At its 33rd meeting held November 14-18, the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) continued its discussion of exceptions and limitations for libraries, archives, and museums. A committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the SCCR meets twice yearly in Geneva to discuss issues related to the development of a balanced international legal framework for copyright.

The ICA and its international partners have been engaged in this discussion since 2010, and they continued to advocate for an international legal instrument setting out basic exceptions and limitations that recognize the legitimacy of non-infringing acts performed by libraries and archives around the world. Such a set of rules will allow archives to serve their users and facilitate international knowledge exchange.

SCCR33 focused on the challenges archives face in dealing with a prohibition on removing technological protection measures that prevent legitimate uses of works, and the legal uncertainty created by vague laws when archivists are simply pursuing fundamental aspects of their mission to preserve cultural documentary heritage and make it available. The interventions by the ICA and other archival organizations drew on their practical experience to demonstrate the need for action at WIPO to allow for work across borders. Some of the ICA’s earlier interventions on cross-border access to knowledge are included in a booklet just published by one of our library partners, EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries).

The next SCCR meeting in May 2017 will be a crucial one. The SCCR will have a new chairperson and the direction of the discussion remains open. ICA participation has paid off in that there is wide support for the missions of archives and libraries, a better understanding of what they and their users need, and a desire for progress. The ICA looks forward to working with its partners and the Member States to achieve this.

Jean Dryden

ICA Representative to SCCR33