Cropped version of a print depicting the following scene: In a schoolroom several 'children' sit on the floor with books and one of them is given by the master with the rod. On the right an easel in a niche, reading by the light of a burning candle. Even if the donkey goes to school, it is still a donkey and will never turn into a horse, goes the saying. Its purport is that someone who has no qualities will never get very far.

SCCR/43: COMMUNIA Statement on Limitations and Exceptions

In our capacity as accredited observers of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), we are attending the 43th session of the Committee, which is currently taking place in Geneva (March 13-17, 2023).

We made the following statement regarding limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and for persons with other disabilities (Agenda Item 7):

Dear Delegates,

We come here, year after year, to defend the rights of teachers and researchers. We support your discussions. We bring evidence. We talk to you, the person that was here before you and the person that will come after you. It’s a massive effort. Yet, every year, we leave this room empty handed, with no binding instruments, no soft laws, nothing that could make a difference.

Do know that we question if we should come back. The only reason why we persist is because we cannot stand talking with those researchers and teachers about the challenges they face when researching newspapers or showing Youtube videos in Zoom classes, and turn our backs on them.

So today, I’ll use the 1 minute that I have to let you hear from one of them, in the hope that this will be it, that these will be the words that will also make you stand for them.

Jonas is a Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, and we interviewed him for our publication “Nobody puts research in a cage”.

Jonas is struggling because he cannot have remote access to the data sources he uses in his research and also because he cannot share his research results and underlying resources with colleagues for purposes of verification and validation of his research. In his words:

We are studying book reviews in Swedish newspapers from 1906, 1956 and 2006. We want to train the computers to understand different expressions in their context. We also have a dream that feels more and more likely, insane at first but now maybe real? That is, to train a text corpus to identify what is a book review!
To access material from 1956, we have to go to the National Library Lab in Stockholm. It is a small glass cage with three data terminals. You sit in the lab, annotate. Access to it costs SEK 70,000 the first year, and 35,000 in the following years. You are not allowed to take data in or out, all labs must be done in the cage.
The transparency is non-existent. If someone wants to verify the results, they also have to buy the license for a lot of money. An incredible anxiety!

End of quote.

Thank you.

King Charles II of England addresses members of the Estates General, 1660, Theodor Matham, after Jacob Toorenvliet, 1660
Featured Blog post:
Access to and use of public sector documents and public speeches – new policy paper
Read more
Newer post
Using Copyrighted Works for Teaching the Machine – New Policy Paper
April 26, 2023
Older post
SCCR/43: COMMUNIA Statement on the Protection of Broadcasting Organisations
March 13, 2023