Stirrings in Geneva
THE WORLD Intellectual Property Organization's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related rights (WIPO SCCR) met in Geneva from 7 December to 11 December. I note two highlights:
- Senegal and other countries proposed that the organisation open talks on a treaty to make the Artists Resale Right (droit de suite) apply worldwide - which it must if it is to be effective. Following its implementation in the European Union, some art auction houses moved parts of their activity to the US, to avoid paying artists 4 per cent of the value of sales up to €50,000 - and started lobbying there to prevent its extension. The US blocked the proposal in Geneva, instead calling for a study of how the right is applied and what effect it has in the countries that offer it.
- Brazil called for future discussions on a wide-ranging review of how authors' rights work online. This appeared to call for authors and - more particularly - musical performers to give up our right to authorise who uses our work, in return for "equitable remuneration" administered through collecting societies. The International Federation of Journalists raised this with the Brazilian delegation, who replied that they understood the importance of this "exclusive right" to journalists in maintaining our reputations and ethical practice, and they would not in fact seek to undermine it.