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CIS's Statement at SCCR 24 on Exceptions & Limitations for Libraries and Archives

This was the statement delivered by Pranesh Prakash on Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at the 24th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyrights and Related Rights on the issue of exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We would like to associate ourselves with the statements made by International Federation of Library Associations, Electronic Information for Libraries, Knowledge Ecology International, Conseil International des Archives, Library Copyright Alliance, Computer and Communications Industry Association, and the Canadian Library Association.

The Centre for Internet and Society would like to commend this house for adopting SCCR/23/8 as a working document on the issue of exceptions and limitations on libraries and archives. This issue is of paramount interest the world over, and particularly in developing countries. I would like to limit my oral intervention to three quick points, and will send a longer statement in via e-mail.

First, we feel that this committee should pay special attention to ensuring that digital works and online libraries and archives such as the Internet Archive, also receive the same protection as brick-and-mortar libraries.

Second, we are concerned that we have been seeing some delegations advancing a very narrow interpretation of the three-step test. Such a narrow interpretation is not supported by leading academics, nor by practices of member states. A narrow interpretation of the three-step test must be squarely rejected. In particular, I would like to associate CIS with the strong statements by IFLA and KEI to maintain flexibilities within exceptions and limitations, instead of overly prescriptive provisions encumbered by weighty procedures and specifications.

We have comments about parallel trade as well, drawing from our experience and research in India, and will send those in writing.

Libraries and archive enhance the value of the copyrighted works that they preserve and provide to the general public. They do not erode it. Exceptions and limitations that help them actually help copyright holders. The sooner copyright holders try not to muzzle libraries, especially when it comes to out-of-commerce works, electronic copies of works, and in developing countries, the better it will be for them, their commercial interests, as well as the global public interest.

Thank you.

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