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WIPO CRNR/DC/6 ORIGINAL: English DATE: August 30, 1996


Memorandum prepared by the Chairman of the Committees of Experts

1. In the program of WIPO for the 1990-1991 biennium provision was made to convene a Committee of Experts to examine questions concerning a possible protocol to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. The Committee was convened in two sessions, the first in November 1991 and the second in February 1992. In 1992 two Committees of Experts were set up, one to continue the work started by the first Committee and the other to begin preparation of a possible new instrument for the protection of the rights of performers and producers of phonograms. The Committee of Experts on a Possible Protocol to the Berne Convention then held five further sessions, the third in June 1993, the fourth in December 1994, the fifth in September 1995, the sixth in February 1996 and the seventh in May 1996. The Committee of Experts on a Possible Instrument for the Protection of the Rights of the Performers and the Producers of Phonograms held six sessions, the first in June-July 1993, the second in November 1993, the third in December 1994, the fourth in September 1995, the fifth in February 1996 and the sixth in May 1996. The last three sessions of the two Committees (referred to subsequently as the Committees of Experts) were convened on the same dates and parts of the sessions were held jointly.

2. Until the December 1994 sessions of the Committees of Experts work was based on memoranda prepared by the International Bureau of WIPO. Following the decisions by the Committees of Experts the Director General of WIPO invited Government members and the European Commission to submit proposals for discussion at the September 1995 and February 1996 sessions.

3. In the December 1994 sessions of the Committees of Experts the Delegation of the European Commission informed the Committees about the progress of work in the European Community on a proposal for a Directive on the legal protection of databases which included a proposal for creating a sui generis right to be granted to the maker of a non-original database. In the September 1995 sessions the European Community and its Member States submitted to the Committees of Experts a discussion paper on "The sui generis right provided for in the Proposal for a Directive on the legal protection of databases" (document BCP/CE/V/5). After additional comments by the Delegation of the European Commission the Committees of Experts accepted the conclusion that the issue of such a possible sui generis system would be discussed further at the next sessions of the Committees on the basis of the proposals that might be made by Governments and the European Commission.

4. The European Community and its Member States submitted a proposal for the international harmonization of the sui generis protection of databases (document BCP/CE/VI/13) at the February 1996 sessions of the Committees of Experts. The proposal included draft provisions for the substantive clauses of a treaty. The Committees considered the proposal and several Delegations expressed positive interest in the sui generis right and in the continuation of work. At the same time, however, both further study and the clarification of certain concepts were requested.

5. The United States of America submitted a proposal on the sui generis protection of databases (document BCP/CE/VII/2-INR/CE/VI/2) in the May 1996 sessions of the Committees of Experts. The proposal included draft substantive provisions of a treaty. The Committees considered this proposal together with the previous proposal made by the European Community and its Member States (see paragraph 4). Several Delegations took the position that the question of the sui generis protection of databases could be submitted for consideration by the Diplomatic Conference in December 1996. Several other Delegations held the view that further study was still necessary.

6. In their February 1996 sessions the Committees of Experts had recommended that a Diplomatic Conference for the conclusion of the appropriate treaties should be held in December 1996. A meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the Proposed Diplomatic Conference, the General Assembly of WIPO and the Assembly of the Berne Union were held in Geneva from May 20 to 24, 1996. The Preparatory Committee and the Assemblies decided that a WIPO Diplomatic Conference on Certain Copyright and Neighboring Rights Questions would be convened from December 2 to 20, 1996.

7. The Chairman of the Committees of Experts was entrusted at the February 1996 sessions with the task of preparing the draft texts ("the basic proposals") for the Diplomatic Conference; the WIPO International Bureau was to publish and circulate these draft texts by September 1, 1996, to the States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to be invited to the Diplomatic Conference. The Director General of WIPO proposed that the International Bureau would prepare the draft of the final clauses of the treaty or treaties. The draft Final Clauses prepared by the Director General (document CRNR/PM/2) were examined by the Preparatory Committee of the Proposed Diplomatic Conference in May 1996.

8. In the introduction to the draft Final Clauses, the Director General of WIPO stated: "On the basis of the deliberations of the Committees of Experts, it is assumed that the aim of the Diplomatic Conference will be to adopt one or more multilateral treaty or treaties on questions of copyright, on questions of two branches (one concerning performing artists, the other concerning producers of phonograms) of neighboring rights and, perhaps, also on questions concerning a sui generis protection of data bases."

9. There is no decision on the number of treaties to be proposed for adoption by the Diplomatic Conference in December 1996. The Committees of Experts have made no recommendation on this issue, and after extensive discussion, the question was left open in the May 1996 meetings of the Preparatory Committee, the General Assembly of WIPO and the Assembly of the Berne Union. In this respect, the mandate given to the Chairman of the Committees of Experts was therefore open and included the possibility of establishing draft texts for one, two or three treaties.

10. Basic Proposals for the substantive provisions of three treaties are proposed by the Chairman of the Committees of Experts:

1. "Treaty on Certain Questions Concerning the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works",

2. "Treaty for the Protection of the Rights of Performers and Producers of Phonograms",

3. "Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Databases".

11. It is the assessment of the Chairman of the Committees of Experts that the expectations of the majority of Delegations participating in the meetings referred to in paragraph 9 are most closely met by proposing three draft texts. The Diplomatic Conference has the power to combine separate draft treaties into one single treaty should it find this course of action appropriate. A combined text would have several advantages, and such an option may be viewed as one of legal technique; on the other hand, a single text approach would entail certain political and doctrinal considerations. For example, Governments contemplating ratification of or accession to such a single text would have to analyze and consider implementation of the whole contents of the combined instrument.

12. The present set of draft substantive provisions of the Basic Proposals referred to in paragraph 10, of which the present document is one, have been prepared by the Chairman of the Committees of Experts according to decisions made by the Committees at their February 1996 sessions. The Basic Proposal for the Administrative and Final Clauses of all these proposed Treaties have been submitted by the Director General of WIPO in a separate document.

13. The present document sets forth the substantive provisions of the Basic Proposal of the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Databases. There are 13 Articles preceded by a Preamble. Each provision is accompanied by explanatory Notes.

14. The purpose of the explanatory Notes is:

(i) to explain briefly the contents and rationale of the proposals and to offer guidelines for understanding and interpreting specific provisions,

(ii) to indicate the reasoning behind the proposals, and

(iii) to include references to proposals and comments made at sessions of the Committees of Experts, as well as references to models and points of comparison found in existing treaties.

15. The present Basic Proposal has been prepared on the basis of the proposals referred to paragraphs 4 and 5, taking into account discussions in the Committees of Experts. These proposals have been carefully studied, and portions of them appear in several places in the proposed Treaty, sometimes in a reformulated or combined format. Additional elements have been introduced where necessary, and not all elements of all proposals are reflected in the proposed Treaty. In some instances, alternative solutions are proposed, but the number of proposed alternatives is limited. Alternatives have been designated in the text using capital letters in accordance with Rule 29(b) of the draft Rules of Procedure for the Diplomatic Conference. One of the proposed alternative solutions includes an Annex with special provisions on enforcement.

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