On Friday 3 July, following a busy week of advocacy and meetings in Geneva, the visual artist’s resale right was officially added to the agenda of the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) for discussion at future sessions. This is a major achievement in the campaign to extend this important right to all regions of the world.
The decision came about following a series of activities that were jointly organised by CISAC, EVA and GESAC on the occasion of WIPO’s SCCR session. At a special side event, an academic study commissioned by CISAC on the need for a new international treaty on the resale right was presented by Professor Sam Ricketson (Melbourne University). Ricketson was joined by a representative of the Chinese government, Mr Cike Yu (Director General of the Copyright Management Department of the National Copyright Administration of China) who expressed his government’s support for the introduction of the right in China. Visual artists Hervé Di Rosa (France) and José de Guimarães (Portugal) shared their views with the audience, which included many WIPO Member State delegates. A full description of this event is available at the CISAC website.
In addition, a meeting was organised with WIPO’s Director General, Francis Gurry, to obtain his support for the campaign. The delegation who met with Gurry included ADAGP Director General, Marie-Anne Ferry-Fall; EVA (European Visual Artists) Secretary General Carola Streul, Hervé Di Rosa, Sam Ricketson, and Gadi Oron.
In addition, CISAC representatives engaged in intense lobbying efforts which included several meetings with Member State representatives, to coordinate broad support for formal and technical discussions on the resale right at the plenary. All these efforts were rewarded when the delegate from Congo formally requested the addition of the resale right to the SCCR agenda, supported by Senegal, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Iran and the European Union.
Canada, in a position which was echoed by the US, generally supported adding new items to the SCCR agenda without expressing clear support for the resale right, but also without opposing it. Switzerland indicated their openness to discuss the resale right, while Japan stated that it was not in a position to support the proposal, stressing that the Berne Convention provided sufficient flexibility for countries that want to implement it.
Overall, the decision of the SCCR to open with discussions at the next plenary (December 2015) is a significant achievement and an excellent outcome for visual artists and their societies.