The IFRRO AGM 2015, which met in Mexico City on 11 November 2015, adopted a statement on Open Access. Open Access models are increasingly being implemented in various contexts. IFRRO supports Open Access initiatives which encourage respect for copyright, and which, in turn, do not create confusion amongst authors, publishers and users. Authors, publishers and other rightholders strive to maximise the cost-efficient distribution of their works, and RROs provide services that assist them in this effort, just as they facilitate legal access to copyright works for users
IFRRO submission on EC Consultation on the EU Satellite and Cable Directive
On 24 August 2015, the European Commission launched a consultation to review the EU Directive on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission. The aim of the consultation, according to the Commission, was to “gather input for the evaluation process in order to assess the current rules” and to “seek views on a possible extension of the Directive in light of market and technological developments, with the objective of contributing to the Digital Single Market Strategy”.
IFRRO made a submission to the Consultation; in the submission, IFRRO acknowledges that the management of cable retransmission rights works well in general, and advises against extending the “country of origin” principle to the collective management of rights of authors and neighbouring rightholders.
See IFRRO submission.
This submission made on behalf of IFRRO - The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations – supports the US Copyright Office’s proposed approach, that ways to facilitate large-scale digitisation of copyright works be explored through a pilot program, which involves relevant stakeholders. It further shares relevant experience from other similar initiatives and, in particular on the use of the Extended Collective Licensing (ECL) to support large-scale digitisation, which is the legal technique that we understand that the Copyright Office wishes to consider in support of large-scale digitisation projects in the US.
IFRRO has published with WIPO a joint study on Text and Image based Copyright Levies. It is the first comprehensive and detailed study of text and image levies (TI levies) world-wide. It analyzes the origins, scope and current use of these levies around the world, their role in ensuring easy legal access to copyright material, and shows how and why TI levies are different from audio and audio-visual private copying levies. The aim is to provide transparent information on the administration of the levy system with regard to authors, publishers, users of copyright works, manufacturers, importers, and other stakeholders.
The State Council (SC) of China has published a new draft text of the long-awaited revised Copyright Law and IFRRO, in consultation with our Chinese members CWWCS and MCSC, has submitted comments to the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council. We have also sent our comments to the European Commission (DG Trade).
The UK Government launched a consultation on draft secondary legislation for both the UK orphan works licensing scheme and the transposition of the EU Directive on certain permitted uses of orphan works (2012/28/EU). Full details of the consultation can be found at: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/pro-policy/consult/consult-live/consult-2014-lost.htm
IFRRO’s complete comments to the UK consultation are available here (attached)
On 5 December 2013 the European Commission (EU) launched a public consultation on the EU Copyright Rules. The original deadline of 5 February 2014 for answering the 80 questions that make up the consultation was the last week of January extended to 5 March. IFRRO decided, nevertheless, to submit its comments by the original deadline.
In respect of the copyright legal framework, IFRRO submits that the EU should continue to pursue a pragmatic approach. Rather than emphasising on a single EU Copyright Title, the focus should be on the adoption of an overall intellectual property (IP) strategy. Several studies have documented the importance of the IP sector to the EU economy and employment: For example, IPR intensive industries contribute to 39% of the EU’s GDP and 26% of the EU’s employment; 90% of its export comes from IP intensive industries. Within the IP sector, the copyright sector contributes with a positive trade balance. On a short, medium and longer term, an overarching EU IP strategy is required and urgent to maintain this situation.
Also, as a consequence of the increased importance of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in copyright matters, IFRRO proposes that at specialised panel of judges responsible for copyright legal matters should be created at the CJEU.
At the Opening Session of the Diplomatic Conference to conclude a Treaty to facilitate Access to Published Works by Persons with Print Disabilities, which is taking place from 17-28 June in Marrakesh/Morocco, IFRRO highlighted that an international treaty as an outcome of this Conference should address the specific concerns raised by the print disabled community, and, at the same time, uphold the copyright principles. Enabling and encouraging all stakeholders to work together is indispensable to achieve wide access to accessible works and accessible format copies across borders.
Click here for the complete IFRRO Opening Statement
IFRRO position on EU Presidency’s compromise proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on Collective Rights Management (CRM)
IFRRO position on EU Presidency’s compromise proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on Collective Rights Management (CRM)
IFRRO comments on António Vitorino’s recommendations resulting from the mediation on private copying and reprographic levies
As not all WIPO Member States have ratified the international copyright treaties, IFRRO’s statement highlighted the reference to the three-step test, in order to create an appropriate balance between rights of rightholders and user requirements with respect to the making available and distribution of works. In addition, exceptions in favour of the print disabled should be made subject to copies not being commercially available, which is particularly important with respect to the cross-border transfer of accessible format copies.
IFRRO’s statement emphasized that appropriate access to copyright works, including adequate teaching material, is a question of building apposite infrastructures and sustaining the development of good teaching material and other copyright works. Therefore it is indispensable that carefully framed narrow exceptions, to allow certain limited uses in libraries and education, are complemented by access to material through contracts with rightholders directly and their representatives, supplemented by collective rights management
IFRRO’s statements emphasized the importance of abiding by the 3 step test of the Berne Convention and that the making and cross-border transfer of copies or files under an exception should be made subject to there being no copies obtainable through ordinary commercial channels.
The signatories to Out of Commerce MoU have formed the Out-of-commerce works Mou Implementation Task force (OMIT). chaired by IFRRO CEO, Olav Stokkmo. The MoU signed by organisations representing all relevant stakeholder groups – libraries, authors, publishers, RROs and IFRRO – establishes agreed mechanisms to facilitate the making available of Out of Commerce works. OMIT is in the process of identifying library and other projects which include the making available of out-of-commerce works. To facilitate the understanding of they have prepared a short three page introduction with explanations of the key elements (see attachment).
Solutions for libraries should be based on the permission from and a licence with the rightholders or their representatives. The reproduction and making available of orphan and out-of-commerce works are best handled through voluntary stakeholder initiatives and tools such as ARROW are a testament to their efficiency.
In its statements on Education, inter alia, IFRRO emphasised that, more than copyright and exceptions and limitations issue, appropriate access to adequate teaching material is a question of building apposite infrastructures and sustaining the development of good teaching material. Material founded in local culture and traditions must be available to appropriately adapt to local and special user needs.
IFRRO submitted that overbroad exceptions that conflict with normal exploitations of the works or broadening exceptions without providing remuneration to authors and publishers, would act as a disincentive to and have a negative impact on the continued creation and commissioning of works for the educational market. Both developed and developing societies would suffer from it. Access to copyright material through agreements with rightholders and RROs is what best meets the needs of educational institutions to legally access high quality teaching material in constantly changing environments. RROs also began their activities in response to requests from educational institutions for the licensing of large scale copying of copyright works for teaching and research purposes, and educational institutions continue as the main beneficiaries of their services. The statement also made reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which gives everyone “the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”.
For full statement click here
The case Golan v. Holder has been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on 18 January 2012. Further information on the Supreme Court's decision is available here.
An electronic copy of the amicus curiae brief, which was filed in early August 2011 with the U.S. Court, is available here.
IFRRO, together with IFRRO members IPA, STM and CCC, was one of the amici. The U.S. Court has scheduled argument for this case for 5 October 2011.
Copyright law in the U.S. before 1978 was notable for all the conditions required to obtain copyright. Part of the impetus for the 1976 Act was to change the general approach of U.S. copyright so that it would be compatible with Berne and permit the U.S. finally to become a member of Berne. The U.S. joined Berne effective March 15, 1989, but did nothing to deal with compliance with Berne, Art. 18. It is generally understood that part of the significance of the TRIPs agreement as part of the Uruguay Round of the GATT (and the creation of the WTO) was that it not only required members of WTO to comply with Berne, but that the enforcement mechanism it provided finally pressured the U.S. to comply with its obligations under Berne, Art. 18. With the threat of trade sanctions confronting it, the U.S. passed its implementing legislation in the form of the Uruguay Round Agreement Act (URAA).
The URAA restored to copyright foreign (not domestic) works that had fallen into the public domain in the U.S. because of their failures to comply with the formalities of U.S. law, that is, foreign works published before 1978 that failed to comply with notice, registration, renewal and manufacturing obligations, and foreign works published before 1989 that failed to the weaker notice requirements required until March 15, 1989, the effective date of U.S. adherence to Berne. The legislation did not extend the terms of copyright of those works; it simply restored them to copyright for whatever term they would have had under U.S. law. The URAA also made provisions for "Reliance Parties," those who had used the works in the U.S. during the period when they were in the public domain in the U.S.
The Golan case was filed by reliance parties, who have used restored works and created businesses based on them. These plaintiffs take the position that the URAA, which puts back in copyright a work that went into public domain according to U.S. law, is an unconstitutional application of U.S. copyright. The case, which began many years ago, originally also included a constitutional attack on the legislation that extended the term of copyright by 20 years, but that part of the case was resolved by the Supreme Court's earlier Eldred decision. This part of the case claims that restoration of copyright under the URAA -- taking a work that has entered the public domain under the terms of the applicable copyright law and putting it back into copyright -- violates the "copyright clause" of the U.S. Constitution, which says that copyright (and patent) monopolies may be provided for "limited times." There is also a claim that the restoration violates the First Amendment of the Constitution protecting free speech. The Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit rejected Golan's position, holding that the URAA did not violate the copyright clause of the Copyright Act.
Copyright owners of foreign treaty partners are positioned to make the point that the U.S. failed to comply with Berne in 1989 until forced to do so by the WTO sanctions, and that the failure of the U.S. to comply with its treaty obligations under Art. 18 would violate the copyright rights of the U.S.'s foreign treaty partners. In addition, the petitioners intimate that other countries have treated retroactivity in ways that are vastly more favorable to reliance parties without providing any facts to support their broad assertions.
The argument of the amici brief has four sections:
(1) a history of U.S./international copyright relations aimed at showing that for about the first 120 years, there essentially were no such relations and that the U.S. was more pirate than observer of copyrights, followed by the 1909 Act and the revisions leading to the 1976 Act, focusing on those sections relevant to the rest of the argument and the increasing trend toward becoming part of Berne;
(2) a section relating to the general dissatisfaction of the Berne treaty partners with the U.S.'s failure to do anything about implementing Berne Art. 18 until TRIPS and the threat of trade sanctions;
(3) that U.S. Congress knew that, when circumstances warranted, it could restore copyrights, rebutting the petitioners' argument that U.S. Congress does not have such powers;
(4) that U.S. Congress appropriately balanced First Amendment interests in implementing the restoration provision, addressing the petitioners' arguments about why the way other countries implemented Art. 18 would not have been compatible with First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The U.S. government's brief is available here.
Following the Canadian Copyright Bill C-11 (the “Copyright Modernization Act”), tabled in the House of Commons on 29 September 2011 in the exact same form as Bill C-32 (which died with the 2011 election call), IFRRO expressed its concerns vis-à-vis the Canadian Government ministers.
In a letter to Hon. Edward Fast, James Moore and Christian Paradis (in English and French), IFRRO made clear that the educational and other non-commercial exceptions in the proposed Canadian Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11) will seriously affect the existing and future sales market for educational material and prejudice authors' and publishers' legitimate interests.