EBLIDA meeting with DG XV on WIPO

Subject: EBLIDA meeting with DG XV on WIPO
From: Barbara Schleihagen (eblida@nblc.nl )
Date: ti 22 loka   1996 - 10:50:00 EEST

During a meeting on 18 October 1996 with representatives of the European
Commission, DG XV, and representatives of EBLIDA, Mr Jörg Reinbothe
(Director of the Copyright Unit of DGXV of the European Commission)
explained why the new proposed treaties in the copyright field within WIPO
should not and will not harmonize national legislation or exceptions for
libraries. In contrast to the mandate given to the European Union to
harmonize (reproduction) rights within their Member States to enable the
single market, WIPO is aiming at setting worldwide minimum standards of
copyright proctection. It has to be left to the signatories of the treaties
how these standards are incorporated into national law and which exceptions
will be provided for libraries. These exceptions were not made obligatory in
the Berne Convention and can therefore not be made obligatory in any
additional treaty, as this would change the balance of the Berne Convention.
The EU is currently working on a follow-up to the Green Paper on Copyright
and Neighbouring Rights which will include an exhaustive list of exceptions.
The European Commission hopes to be able to adopt this Paper in November. Mr
Reinbothe and his colleagues are willing to continue discussions with
representatives of the library world at another meeting that is envisaged to
take place later in November.

These were the major results of a meeting that was arranged by EBLIDA in
co-operation with the ECUP Project Director. Within four days time the
EBLIDA secretariat managed to get 5 librarians from Flanders and Holland
(Jan van Vaerenbergh, Public Library Leuven; Ward Bosmans, Flemish Council
of Research Libraries, Leuven; Julien van Borm, UIA Library Antwerp; John
Gilbert, Maastricht University Library; Chris Groeneveld, Royal Libary, The
Hague) to attend the meeting which was arranged at Mr Reinbothe own request
at very short notice.

The next steps for the EU to prepare the Diplomatic Conference in December
in Geneva are frequent consultations with all EU Member States and a meeting
with participants from other countries (15+15) on 29 and 30 November. Mr.
Reinbothe would welcome a paper by EBLIDA to be able to take the position of
information professionals into account. The aim of our workshop in Oslo on 4
and 5 November is, among others, especially meant to prepare such an EBLIDA
Position Paper.

In the course of this meeting with Mr. Reinbothe, the library relevant
articles of the proposed treaty concerning the protection of literary and
artistic works were discussed in some detail. It was explained that the WIPO
proposals must be sufficiently abstract to cover also future development
although this makes sometimes difficult read. Julien van Borm from the
University Library in Antwerp stressed that copyright legislation is
presently too much based on economic interests and that rights at the moment
seem to be more publisher’s than author’s rights.

In conclusion of this meeting it must be stated that it is in the WIPO
context of vital importance for national library associations to lobby for
the existing library exceptions in the printed environment also to be
applied in a digital environment at a nation level. EBLIDA will watch
closely the developments of the announced follow-up of the Green Paper on
Copyright and will keep you informed.

Barbara Schleihagen
Director EBLIDA

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