WIPO Diary (SCCR 38) Day 5: The Final Hurrah


Friday at SCCR 38 was for “other matters” – copyright in the digital environment, resale right and theatre directors. 


IPA started the day meeting a group of creative sector organisations to share intelligence about what happened during the week.

Gvantsa Jobava, Chairperson of IPA’s Georgian member, The Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association, also took advantage of being at WIPO for this SCCR session to sign the Accessible Books Consortium Charter on behalf of her publisher, Intelekti Publishing. IPA encourages all publishers to sign the charter. She also met with the Georgian Embassy in Geneva (along with Hugo Setzer and José Borghino) where she was able to talk about the key areas of debate at SCCR and their potential impact on publishers in Georgia.

SCCR38 ABC Charter Gvantsa Jobava Monica Halil Hugo Setzer crop

The formal proceedings on Friday opened with ‘copyright in the digital environment,’ an issue which is focused on the music sector but previous sessions have seen some Member States and NGOs encourage WIPO to look at extending this to other sectors like audiovisual and publishing. IFLA asked that the study be extended to publishing highlighting The Author’s Interestproject in Australia. Member States kept their comments shorts, simply welcoming the progress on this agenda item.

On Artist Resale Royalty Right, there was an update on the work of the taskforce. Member States took the floor with the usual suspects backing the addition of this item as a full agenda item or calling for more work to be done. The International Federation of Journalists welcomed these discussions with an interesting statement including: We have heard many calls for balance. As a writer and particularly as someone who also works as an editor I have a strong attachment to words having clear meaning. This is the first proposal in many years to support creators and creativity. Our work has therefore cleqrly been unbalanced and adoption of this item would be a step to balancing it.

The morning closed with a presentation of the progress on the Russian proposal for protection of theatre directors. A scoping study will be presented at SCCR39. 

IFPI and Music Canada organized the lunchtime side event on Friday: ‘An Industry Transformed—Securing sustainable growth for today’s digital music industry’. Presenters Larry Miller from NYU, Graham Henderson of Music Canada, and Canadian musician Miranda Mulholland spoke in sequence, briefly enough to leave room for Mulholland and her bandmate Andrew Penner to perform three songs as Harrow Fair.

The panelists described the role of record labels in developing works and finding their audiences, the dramatic uptick in revenues for the industry since 2014 following the dawn of paid streaming services, and the persistent value gap between what music consumers spend, and what musicians and their labels actually receive. The rest, they said, goes to middle players, including those who shelter under safe harbour legislation. Mulholland and Henderson emphasized that the middle players’ working principle of “move fast and break things” has effectively broken the business model that allowed musicians to be creative professionals, earning their livings from their art and performance. 

Measured against other industry-sponsored side events at SCCR—yesterday’s event on the Press Publishers Right, for example—the presenters today got a relatively light ride during Q&A, during which they defended freedom of expression as something complementary to fair compensation. For a book publisher, it was a panel full of echoes of the stresses and challenges in the book world. 

With the main agenda items covered in the morning, the afternoon session saw the SCCR agree on a recommendation to WIPO’s General Assemblies on a possible Diplomatic Conference on a Broadcasting Treaty:

In view of the steady progress made in recent SCCR sessions, the GA invites the SCCR to continue its work towards convening a Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of a treaty on the protection of broadcasting organizations, aiming for the 2020, 2021 biennium subject to Member States reaching consensus in the SCCR on the fundamental issues including specific scope, object of protection and rights to be granted. 

The Chair’s Summary of the week’s proceedings was then presented. With no comments from the Member States, Daren Tang wished delegates all the best for the Regional Seminars before a round of thank yous and general comments from the delegations.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for following our blog posts this week, I leave you with a video of interviews, including IPA President Hugo Setzer, celebrating the USA joining the Marrakesh Treaty on the first day of this SCCR session: a closing bracket on the week and a reminder of what can be achieved in multilateral fora like WIPO.

EU copyright modernised: Was it easy?
WIPO Diary (SCCR 38) Day 4: Typologies galore

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