This is a summary of some of the issues ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy has been focused on at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) through the Library Copyright Alliance (ALA-Washington Office, ARL, and ACRL). The second area described discusses a proposed treaty for traditional cultural expressions. Read the full report here (pdf).
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) released comments on the latest version of a draft treaty on traditional cultural expressions (TCE), a legal instrument that seeks to protect and manage folklore and other cultural expression by Western copyright laws. The LCA finds the categorization of traditional cultural expressions overly broad, protecting works that are currently in the public domain including mythology, the Old and New Testament, legends, and works that have typically never been protected by copyright law such as words, games, and sports. The draft treaty also conflicts with fundamental tenets of U.S. copyright policy including free expression, the advancement of learning, and fair use.
LCA representatives will continue to participate in meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) in Geneva to oppose the treaty. The next IGC meeting is May 9-13, 2011.