Sep 14-15: Limitations and Exceptions Network Workshop

Copyright reform is under active discussion at the national level in numerous countries. The goal of the Global Research Network on Copyright Flexibilities in National Legal Reform is to produce draft language for a flexible limitation and exception that could be included in national legislation. We expect to offer this language, which may include more than one model provision, to legislators and civil society advocates in countries contemplating copyright reform. Additionally, we aim to develop an online “tool kit” to assist these deliberations.

The impetus for this project was discussion at the August 2011 Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest. Its final communiqué, the “Washington Declaration,” includes a section on “Strengthening Limitations and Exceptions,” stating:

  • “limitations and exceptions are under threat, especially from efforts to recast international law as a constraint on the exercise of flexibilities in domestic legislation,”
  • “efforts [are needed] to defend and expand as appropriate the operation of limitations and exceptions in the years to come,” and
  • communities of scholars and advocates should “[p]romote discussion of employing ‘open-ended’ limitations in national copyright legislation, in addition to specific exceptions.”

The project launched at a December 2011 meeting by the Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam and the American University Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. Our next meeting will be held September 14-15 in Washington D.C., where we hope to come to agreement on draft legislative language, and review of a draft white paper on the Three-Step Test and its relationship to flexible limitations and exceptions. It will further include a discussion of the positive cases where flexible limitations and exceptions are enabling innovation and development.

The final product from the project – in the form of an online tool-kit promoting open limitations and exceptions, will be released at the 2012 Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest. The Congress will include a half day L&E track to discuss the forums where L&Es are being considered, strategies for promoting open L&Es within those forums, and the identification of research and analysis needs to contribute to the deliberation in those forums. We are hoping that many of you will be able to join us there for the presentation and dissemination of this work.