World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Panel on Copyright

Jorgen Blomqvist, World Intellectual Property Organization

The adequate provision of educational materials, not only in analog, but also particularly in digital form, is of central importance in open and distance learning.

Much has been said about the impact of copyright and the intellectual property system on the use of protected material for educational purposes. Much ink has flowed and even more has been expressed orally about the opportunities, challenges and difficulties that digital technologies have posed for authors and creative industries, on the one side, and for the users of their creations, on the other side. The search for workable solutions that balance the needs of those who have interests at stake is a major issue which the international community needs to tackle as a matter of urgency.

An important development in the discussions of WIPO Member States has been the inclusion of the issue of exceptions and limitations to copyright and related rights for the purposes of education, and for the benefit of libraries and disabled persons, in the current agenda of its Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. The aim is to strengthen international understanding on the matter, exploring existing and proposed models of protection, and moving towards agreement regarding these specific exceptions.

An interdisciplinary group of leading experts in this panel will address the most salient aspects of the operation of the copyright system in the area of education, with particular emphasis on Commonwealth countries. They will present the views of the stakeholders and the available options for national governments and legislators

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