Professor at centre of copyright shift

Western professor Margaret Ann Wilkinson joined the 23rd Session of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights held in Geneva in November. She was the lone Canadian academic.

The copyright body kicked off negotiations this week, with the goal of advancing work on exceptions and limitations policy for libraries and archives and the reading disabled. However, significant debate on whether these policies should be legally binding treaties or ‘soft law’ instruments put developing and developed countries at odds with one another.



The meeting’s extraordinary first three days represented the first time libraries and archives have become, on their own, the focus of an international treaty development process for exceptions and limitations to copyright.

Wilkinson, director of the area of concentration in Intellectual Property, Information and Technology Law in the Faculty of Law, attended the meeting as a representative of the Canadian Library Association, one of the non-governmental organizations active at the session.

At the close of the meeting, member states were left considering text which incorporates a model treaty created by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) (SCCR /23/3).

View full reports from the event at the organization’s website.

Wilkinson has a long-standing research involvement with Canadian exceptions and users’ rights for libraries under copyright and with international intellectual property concepts. In September, she was one of a handful of copyright academic experts from around the world consulted on finalizing the IFLA’s text for the model Treaty on Limitations and Limitations for Libraries and Archives.