Subject: Meeting in Norway on WIPO proposals
Date: to 10 loka 1996 - 22:11:06 EEST
MEETING - NORWEGIAN MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND ORGANIZATIONS
The meeting was held October 9th in Oslo. The purpose of the meeting was
to discuss the Norwegian position at the WIPO meeting in December.
The Norwegian Library Association was invited to make comments, together
with a large number of other organizations. The delegation from the Library
Association consisted of Frode Bakken, Kristine Abelsnes and Grethe
In his introductory remarks, Mr Sonneland (who is responsible for copyright
issues within the Ministry), stated that the Norwegian focus was on three isues/
areas in particular concerning the CRNR/DC/4:
* the extent of national treatment
* the balance between the author's rights and the public's interest
* right of distribution after first sale
He said Norway would fully support the proposal on the following issues:
* Article 13 Obligations concerning technological measures
* Article 14 Obligations concerning Rights Management Information
There will be discussions both on Nordic and European level before the
WIPO meeting. The Nordic cooperation will be especially close.
The floor was then opened to general comments. Frode Bakken and Kristine
Abelsnes presented the views of the Library Association and expressed
concern on the problems of the public's interests, the library privileges
and the narrowing of the public domain. The view was expressed that the
revision in December was premature, and that the consequences of the
high level of protection outlined in the revision had to be subject to further
discussion and assessment. It was also expressed that there were
serious concerns in the library community - nationally and internatonally -
about the short time given to develop a clear position on the issues raised
for libraries in the WIPO proposals. The library community will need more
time to consider and analyse the proposals.
The Norwegian Library Association also pointed out that the general
approach to the issue of electronic libraries should be a combination of
'library privileges', collective remuneration systems paid on state level
and possible licensing systems on library level. It was made clear that
the Library Association would consider individually based clearance systems
in libraries very problematic. The system of Nordic collective remuneration
should be developed to encompass the digital environment.
Mr. Sonneland warned against a delay. In his opinion, this could lead to
the discussions being held in other forums than WIPO, for example
WTO, and that those discussions would be less open.
He preferred the open discussions of WIPO even if all member states had not reached
On the matter of library privileges he said that according to the proposal the exceptions
should be the subject of national treatment, and since most of the
libraries' acitivites were based on exceptions, these would therefore be
decided on a national level. But he could see that it would have been
easier if the proposal had expressed more clearly what would constitute
acceptable exceptions, considering the international nature of the digital
He also acknowledged the problem concerning the public domain, and
in particular the problem of the technical protection systems and the
public domain. He expressed a general concern aboutpublic access
to information in a future situation where all sorts of material would be
available only in encrypted form and/or through channels based on payment.
The Ministry would look into the Nordic model of remuneration in connection
with the revision.
The meeting then went on to discuss the different articles of the
The Norwegian government delegation at the WIPO meeting in May had
pointed out the unreasonable consequences of temporary RAM storage
being considered reproduction in the meaning of the Berne convention.
One has, however, to accept that this IS a reproduction, but that it must
be possible to make this an exception from the exclusive right.
The existing Norwegian legislation relates reproduction to a device
able to reproduce the work, which in an electronic context will
assume a more permanent storage.
Also: the user should not have to prove that authorization
exists. Freely available material is assumed to be authorized for use
unless the opposite is clearly stated.
It will be discussed, also on a Nordic level, if the exceptions in Article
7 should be made more general. The Library Association said that
these exceptions then must be made general on a global basis and
incorporated in the treaty text.
The Library Association said that they supported fully the position taken
by the Norwegian delegation concerning temporary RAM storage not
being considered a reproduction in the meaning of the Berne convention.
This is meant to regulate interactive, on-demand communication.
The Norwegian Library Association raised the question of the
libraries' role as agents of making material available to the public, and also
the definition of 'the public' in this context.
Mr. Sonneland acknowledged the special role of the libraries, but said
that if a library made digitized copyrighted works generally available from their own
database(s) on demand to any member of the public anywhere at any time,
that would be subject to authorization. But then again, the libraries' role
as agents for making informaton available on a general level would have to be
discussed, and he invited the Library Association to have discussions with
the Ministry on this issue on a bilateral level.
The Norwegian delegation would like to have a more committing statement
concerning the interests and exceptions mentioned in Note 12.09.
Likely they would make a proposal to that effect at
the WIPO meeting.
The Library Association pointed out that the text in 12.09 could inspire a
final text that should be incorporated in the treaty text. It is not sufficient
that these important interests and exceptions only exist in in corresponding
notes and not in the treaty text itself.
Note 12.09 has the following text:
"When a high level of protection is proposed, there is reason to balance
such protection against other important values in society. Among these
values are the interests of education, scientific research, the need of the
general public for information to be available in libraries and the interests
of persons with a handicap that prevents them from using ordinary sources
The Library Association urged the Norwegian government to use its
influence to make statements to this effect part of the treaty itself so that these
interests can be secured on a global level.
Sonneland expressed concern and confirmed that these questions were
currently discussed within the Ministry and also with Nordic colleagues.
Article 13 (and 14):
Article 13 is supported by current Norwegian copyright and criminal law.
There is, however, an important issue not yet resolved: How to make
solutions for legitimate use?
The opinion of the Ministry is that it is better to particiate actively
in the discussions trying to find solutions for public domain material and/or
legitimate use, rather than go against Article 13. If there is no way
of regulating the information highways, then those will not be the place where
right owners will choose to publish and distribute their works.
When asked by the Norwegian Library Association if the revision of the
Berne convention would mean that changes had to be made in current
Norwegian legislation, Mr. Sonneland replied that, as far as he could see at this stage,
the changes would be very small.
An important issue and discussion would, however, be that of exceptions
The Norwegian Library Association will conctinue the discussions on
these matters with the Norwegian Ministry of Culture.
Norwegian Library Association
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