Cooks sign up for copyright treaties

Thursday May 09, 2019 Written by Published in Economy
Francis Gurry. 19042302 Francis Gurry. 19042302

The Cook Islands has joined four key copyright treaties with the World Intellectual Property Organisation after handing “instruments of accession” to its director Francis Gurry.

 

Gurry received the documents from Repeta Puna, the director of governance at the Ministry for Cultural Development.

The Cook Islands becomes the 25th contracting party to the Beijing Treaty on Audio-Visual Performances, which modernises and updates for the digital era the protection for singers, musicians, dancers and actors in audio-visual performances contained in the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organisations (1961).

The Beijing Treaty requires 30 contracting parties before it enters into force.

The Cook Islands also joined the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, becoming the 55th member. The Marrakesh Treaty now covers 82 countries owing to the recent accession of the European Union. It will enter into force for the Cook Islands on June 19.

The Marrakesh Treaty requires its contracting parties to adopt national law provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in accessible formats – such as Braille - through limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright right-holders.

It also provides for the exchange of these accessible format works across borders by organisations that serve the people who are blind, visually impaired, and print disabled. It will harmonise limitations and exceptions so that these organisations can operate across borders.

The treaty is also designed to provide assurances to authors and publishers that that system will not expose their published works to misuse or distribution to anyone other than the intended beneficiaries.

The Cook Islands also joined WIPO’s so-called “Internet Treaties” - the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT), and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty (WPPT), becoming the 101st member of each.  The WCT and the WPPT will enter into force for the Cook Islands on June 19.

The WIPO Internet Treaties update the multilateral copyright system set forth in older treaties such as the Berne Convention from 1886 and the Rome Convention from 1961 for the digital era.

By joining these treaties, the Cook Islands is taking an important step to support the development of its creative industries and to allow them to distribute their creative outputs worldwide within the copyright framework. The Internet Treaties also include important, updated rights such as communication to the public that facilitate global commerce of works in digital form.

“The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations. It is dedicated to developing a balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) system, which rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development while safeguarding the public interest.”

A celebration of the US ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled took place at WIPO on April 1 on the sidelines of a meeting of WIPO’s key copyright negotiating committee, the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). 

The United States of America deposited its instrument of ratification earlier this year with WIPO’s Francis Gurry, becoming the 50th member and adding a major global publishing centre to the treaty that promotes the increased worldwide availability of texts specially adapted for use by persons with visual or print impairments.

The US is home to the largest number of English-language texts in accessible formats, such as Braille, for use by people living with print or visual disabilities. The treaty eases the creation and international transfer of accessible texts among its contracting parties. The treaty enters into force for the US today.

- WIPO

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