May 12, 2016 - 1:15pm to 2:45pm PDT
Geneva, Switzerland
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Much of the work of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights over the last two decades stems from tensions that exist between copyright law as it is written and administered, and the realities of the online and digital environment. In particular, the committee has had to address the disconnect between a copyright system that grants exclusive rights to control the reproduction of works, and the emergence of a global communications network for which automated copying is a routine and integral feature.

Many of the measures considered by the SCCR to address this disconnect (mainly the institution of additional exclusive rights and rightsholders) have been constrained by the requirement of interoperating with existing territorial collecting and licensing arrangements. Indeed, these measures have in general been put forward by those who have a large stake in those existing arrangements. But less has been heard from those who do not have such a stake, such as independent artists, and technology developers and users.

This lunchtime meeting seeks to allow some of those whose voices have been missing in this debate to explain their visions for possible futures of copyright in the digital environment, with a focus on the special case of music, where the impact of technological change has been especially evident. The objective of the meeting is to enrich the SCCR's future discussions on this topic, including in particular those around the paper Proposal for Analysis of Copyright Related to the Digital Environment presented by the GRULAC states at SCCR 31.

  • Our keynote speaker, Grammy award nominee Imogen Heap, will address the question of whether technology could help narrow the oft-cited "value gap", whereby revenues from digital streaming services are not providing sufficient remuneration to artists. Through blockchain technology, Imogen imagines a radical new future that could also provide artists with much more transparency and control over the use of their works, whether those works are distributed for free or for payment.
  • Our next speaker, Marcos Alves de Souza, Director of Intellectual Rights of The Ministry of Culture of Brazil, will cover the GRULAC paper on the digital environment, and in particular its exploration of the possible role for an equitable remuneration right to replace the exclusive authorization right for the use of digital content such as music online. Mr de Souza will also touch on some of the obstacles that may impede the adoption of such innovations.
  • The final speaker, Sean Flynn from the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at American University Washington College of Law, will talk on evaluating the benefits of fair use in the digital economy. There has been a recent increase in attention in countries around the world on the role that the openness and flexibility of U.S.-style "fair use" exceptions can play in creating an enabling environment for social and economic growth in the digital age. Professor Flynn will survey recent academic research, as well as an ongoing econometric project, exploring how fair use exceptions can benefit creativity and economic growth in technology industries without harming traditional "copyright industries."

The session was recorded and live streamed, and the archive is presented above. EFF is organizing and moderating this session, but does not necessarily endorse the positions of any of the panelists, and nor do they necessarily endorse the positions of EFF.