Subject: Report of the UK hearing to discuss the WIPO proposals
From: Heikki Poroila (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: la 23 marras 1996 - 05:31:18 EET
From Sandy Norman:
I attended this UK hearing over three weeks ago and have only
just got round to writing up my notes. I apologise that my
memory has failed me in places. Others who attended, please
add what they remember.
Report of the UK hearing to discuss the WIPO proposals held at
the Patent Office 30th October 1996
On the platform were Jonathan Startup, Roger Knights and Brian
Simpson - all from the Copyright Directorate of the Patent
Office which is the UK government department looking after
Jonathan Startup started up! He said that the government
would not be giving its views prior to the Diplomatic
Conference. He said that they were bound by EC rules and that
the proposals reflect existing EU law and UK law in the main.
The UK wants all 3 treaty proposals to go through together.
They were not talking about dropping any of them.
They were only going to discuss what they felt to be the most
controversial Articles. The Copyright and the Neighbouring
Rights questions were lumped together.
Article 3: Notion and place of publication
Roger Knights introduced this and said that there were
parallels with the UK copyright act. "Making available" is
the same as publication. He said they have hesitations on
this proposal. Member States have expressed doubts and there
has been little discussion at previous WIPO meetings. The
place of publication determines the term. He said the
Government was unclear about the precise effect of this
Article. Delegates discussed it but nothing was resolved.
Article 6: Abolition of Certain Non-Voluntary Licences
There are no compulsory licences in the UK or EU law. RK said
that developing countries are against this. The
representative from the BBC said they and other broadcasting
companies were also against it.
Article 7: Scope of the Right of Reproduction
RK said that this was close to what already exists in the UK
so the UK will have to support it. I questioned this as
although ephemeral copying may be included in our law, there
were no exceptions given for lawful use, and gave the example
of copying by fax. Technically this is illegal as a copy of
the work is stored digitally while being sent. RK gave a very
weak answer to this by saying that if the sending of the fax
was lawful (eg if it was under the exceptions for library
copying) then we have an implied licence to send works by
fax! Librarians in the audience agreed that it was the first
we had heard of it - not that it has ever stopped us doing it
anyway. (Can we assume from this that we have an implied
licence to scan and send electronically?)
Article 10: Right of Communication
RK said that this was closing the gaps of Berne! Regarding
Neighbouring Rights, many countries of the world will not
accept an exclusive right of broadcasting, but will only
accept a right of remuneration. The UK would like to see a
remuneration right only but this is unlikely to be accepted.
I asked about the definition of "public" but I was laughed at
- they could not possiblly spend time defining that!
Article 12: Limitations and Exceptions
I have no real notes. So either the discussion was so
interesting I did not take any or nothing much was said! I
cannot remember much about this Article, which is strange
as this is important to us. I think the librarians amongst
made our points.
Articles 13 & 14
Brian Simpson spoke on these Articles. He said they underpin
copyright and related rights and expand TRIPS. There was much
discussion. I made the point that exceptions should appear in
the treaty language and not just in the Notes. One delegate
said that unlawful conduct should only be for deliberate acts
of infringement where profit is involved. Some said a broader
definition is needed. Moral rights were also mentioned.
The discussion continued after lunch but I had to leave then.
Those that remained said that there were some sneering remarks
made about user representation. RK and friends did not seem to
think that it was necessary to seek or even hear their views.
14th November 1996
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