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Internet Governance 5 October 2012

Statement to the 50th session of the WIPO General Assembly

Good afternoon Mr. Chairman. Since this is the first time the Internet Society is taking the floor, I would like to congratulate you for your continuous leadership.
Respected Delegates,
The Internet Society (ISOC) welcomes the opportunity to deliver a statement on this session of WIPO’s General Assemblies and we welcome the commitment of WIPO Member States in seeking to address the issues that are currently before the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR).
First of all, we would like to stress that at this point in time, it is critical to take into account new economic, social and technological developments – such as the Internet and the digital revolution.
On the issue of limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives, we urge WIPO and its MS to take all appropriate steps and call for a Diplomatic Conference, which will ensure that libraries and archives can promote full access to information in the digital world.
On the issue on the limitations and exceptions for the visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities, the Internet Society believes that all people should be in the position to have full access to content within and outside the Internet. To this end, we have undertaken work on the issue of accessibility and we have produced a paper, a copy of which is available outside. We are of the opinion that governments and policy makers have an important obligation to use the legislative and regulatory tools at their disposal to address accessibility to the Internet for persons with disabilities. We believe that governments, industry and other key stakeholders need to make accessibility a priority in their ongoing work, individually and collaboratively. We believe, therefore, that WIPO should urgently call for a Diplomatic Conference for the persons with print disabilities, leading to a much-needed Treaty.
Moreover, the Internet Society recognized the work that both WIPO and Member States have put on the issue of protecting broadcasting organizations and supports international initiatives that focus on ways to prohibit and punish true signal piracy.
However, we also understand that some of the proposals on this issue focus on recognizing new rights to broadcasting organizations. To this end, we are concerned about the potentially adverse impact these new rights might have upon creativity. We think that this might be counterproductive in the development of innovative new content and new business models and might unnecessarily increase the costs for Internet users.
In general, digital technologies and the Internet provide the tools for informative and artistic expression through various forms, including video and audio. Over
the past few years, the sharing and circulation of video and audio has become a norm in the Internet and has allowed various innovative platforms to emerge that have used as their base the ability of users to exchange, edit and piece together clips for the purposes of satire, commentary, journalism or human rights advocacy. Some existing copyright regimes allow such activities. With technology becoming more ubiquitous, participation in such multi-media fora is gaining more momentum.
As a final note, the Internet Society believes that any Treaty, which relates to issues pertaining to the Internet, either directly or indirectly, should respect the Internet’s open and generative nature as well as its underlying architecture. We believe that any issues relating to the Internet should be deliberated under an inclusive, multistakeholder environment, as established by the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Tunis Agenda, which in paragraph 68 states:
“[…] We also recognize the need for development of public policy by governments in consultation with all stakeholders”.
The Internet Society hopes that discussions within WIPO on issues pertaining to the Internet will be conducted under a similar multistakeholder approach.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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