WIPO SCCR 41: Notes from Day 1

Member states delivered opening statements and deliberated on the progress, substantive provisions, and method of work on the draft broadcasting treaty text. This blog post summarises positions and contentions that supported: 1) transparency in SCCR work 2) limitations and exceptions 3) addressing the object of protection and overbroad scope of rights in the draft treaty text.
  • Agenda Item: Protection of Broadcasting Organisations

1. Opacity around informal work on the broadcasting treaty agenda

Indonesia, Pakistan, Iran, South Africa and Chile shared their disappointment on the lack of transparency  of informal meetings on the treaty text, and urged for greater openness. The informal meetings were conducted between WIPO and an ad hoc group of countries known as ‘Friends of the (SCCR) Chair’. This group currently includes Argentina, Colombia, the European Union, Finland, Germany, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, and the United States of America. The group met in April and June 2021, but Indonesia questioned whether there was a mandate for it in the first place.

Indonesia and Pakistan requested for further updates on the status of the treaty text from the WIPO SCCR Chair and Vice-Chair, especially as an outcome of the informal work. The two delegations also noted the lack of diversity and imbalance in representation in the ‘Friends of the Chair’ group. Pakistan noted that this agenda item had always had a diversity of viewpoints, and that this new mechanism was reductive and not inclusive.   

The WIPO SCCR Chair’s and Vice-Chair’s response was that the ‘Friends of the Chair’ mechanism was adopted to do inter-sessional work (work between two SCCRs), in a flexible and less-time consuming manner. The Chair added that the group was created in 2019 (i.e in the previous Chair's term). However, it should be noted that the group was created only for an “exceptional informal intersessional meeting” with the objective to “brainstorm on possible ways to make progress on the draft treaty on the protection of broadcasting organizations in view of the upcoming WIPO General Assembly and the 40th session of the SCCR which will be held in October.” Indonesia made a request to join this group, which was denied by the Chair. The Chair only assured that the concerns raised will be addressed.

2. Support for adding better limitations and exceptions to the treaty text

South Africa emphasised on the critical role of broadcasting organisations in transmitting information and knowledge, and cautioned that the treaty text should be balanced and not negatively impact access to information, culture and education. Iran (speaking on behalf of Asia-pacific group) highlighted the public interest stakes in the treaty and stated that the way forward was to ensure that no layer of rights is created which might affect the right to access information. Chile also was in favour of a more balanced approach that should include limitations and exceptions. Indonesia and Pakistan added that limitations and exceptions in the current text need to be addressed more properly, as they are essential provisions for digital preservation, online use and research.

3. Alternative legal solutions to address broadcast piracy

Canada highlighted how in its national law it provides signal protection and combats piracy without granting exclusive rights to broadcasters on transmission.

  • Agenda Item: Limitations and Exceptions

1. Support for Limitations and Exceptions agenda item

India noted the importance of the limitations and exceptions agenda for the benefit of the work of libraries, archives, museums, and educational and research institutions, and shared its support for the agenda item.