IPA Blog

Ben Steward

WIPO Diary, Day 4: crossed swords over cross-border uses

Two hot potatoes in particular injected extra vim into the SCCR discussion today, drawing parties on either side of the copyright fence into an exchange of views that, had we been in a pub and not at WIPO, might have led to indecorous behaviour from some.
A collective sigh of relief was heaved here at WIPO this morning when, at last, the broadcasting talk wrapped up.
As the SCCR delegates resumed their Sisyphean effort to define the terms underpinning the long-awaited WIPO broadcast treaty this morning, the glaring paradox at the heart of the process became apparent.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry fired the starting gun on the 32nd Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), today, urging the participants to agree on the elusive broadcasting treaty, which has lain on the table since 1996.
This week, the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) will meet for the 32nd time, in Geneva, to debate several copyright issues that will have a direct impact on the global publishing industry.
The UNESCO-led World Book Capital sprang from the runaway success of World Book and Copyright Day, launched in 1996, when UNESCO nominated Madrid as the first World Book Capital, for 2001. Thereafter, UNESCO's General Conference adopted a resolution, on 2 November 2001, establishing the yearly nomination of World Book Capital.
It's glaringly obvious that the publishing industry has undergone a seismic shift in recent times, and many of us will have experienced this upheaval first-hand. We've seen unprecedented global mergers and acquisitions, and the demise of established sector stalwarts.
Since forever, publishers have been criticised. It's all part of the job. Publishers are ripping off authors. Publishers are maltreating booksellers. Publishers publish tosh. Publishers don't take enough risks. Publishers spend too little on marketing. Publishers don't understand their market. Publishers are Luddites. In short, publishers are incompetent. What's more, they make obscenely large profits.
It is with great wistfulness that I write my final blog for The PA’s website and bid farewell to very many friends and colleagues in The PA and beyond; but because in my new role with the RELX Group I will continue to see a great deal of some people and think about many of the same issues, the subject of change versus permanence is very much in mind.
Relations between publishers and librarians tend to be cast along adversarial lines. A current example is the debate over the “right to e-read”, whereby the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) has asked the European Commission to impose on publishers the obligation to make all their e-books available to libraries, regardless of the effect on the book market.

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