RLI 285  16 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2015 to the reproduction right. Crews updated the study and presented it at WIPO in December 2014. The updated study evaluated 186 countries, finding that 153 had one or more “library exceptions.” Crews also identified some changes to national laws, including in the United Kingdom and Russia, both of which amended their copyright laws in 2014. Following the 2008 study, a number of countries expressed interest in an international instrument to specifically address limitations and exceptions for libraries. Some developing countries, particularly the African Group, advocated for a single instrument for limitations and exceptions that would broadly address persons who are visually impaired, libraries, and education. In 2011, the African Group tabled a comprehensive proposal addressing these three topics. Ultimately, WIPO member states agreed to separate the issues and moved forward first with negotiations for persons who are visually impaired. With the conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty, attention at WIPO has turned to libraries. However, significant divergence exists among WIPO member states regarding not only the substantive provisions in the text, but also the nature of the instrument. While a number of countries, primarily developing countries, advocate for a binding treaty, other countries support a “soft” instrument instead, which could, for example, take the form of recommendations, principles, or a model law that would not be binding. There have been proposals reflecting the differences on the nature of an instrument. As noted above, prior to the success of the Marrakesh Treaty, the African Group proposed a comprehensive treaty on limitations and exceptions for the print-disabled, educational and research institutions, and libraries and archives. Brazil, Ecuador, and Uruguay tabled a proposal labeled by WIPO as “An Appropriate International Legal Instrument (in whatever form) on Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives,” thus avoiding any prejudgment on the nature of the instrument.5 The US tabled a “soft law” document called “Objectives and Principles for Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives,” encouraging adoption of exceptions at the national level. The topics under discussion for an instrument for libraries include: preservation of library and archival materials the right of reproduction distribution and safeguarding of copies legal deposit systems library lending exhaustion of rights and parallel importation cross-border sharing orphan works limitations on liability for libraries and archives technological protection measures relationship between limitations and exceptions of the instrument and contracts and the right of translation. The first two 2014 meetings of WIPO’s SCCR, which took place in May and July, were highly contentious, with the European Union (EU) refusing to agree to proceed with text-based work on limitations and exceptions for libraries, including a non-binding soft-law instrument.6 The EU essentially blocked consensus at the first two meetings of 2014, resulting in the lack of conclusions to the meetings, a highly unusual development for SCCR.7 While the most recent meeting of SCCR in December 2014 was reportedly more constructive and included sessions for Crews’s update on library limitations and exceptions,8 the meeting ended only with a summary of the chairman’s conclusions. The previous practice of the SCCR to approve of the chairman’s conclusions has, apparently, not been reinstated after the May and July meetings ended so poorly. Some countries, including the US, have noted that the failure to advance conclusions from the meetings could call into question the usefulness of the committee.
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