By Guillaume Henry, AIPPI Assistant Reporter General
The first Plenary Session of this San Francisco Congress will address the topic of morals rights in copyright law. Moral rights protect non-economic interests of the author but, importantly, can in some circumstances disturb or even prevent the economical exploitation of a work. The stakes are increasingly high, because the development of electronic networks multiplies the possibilities of exploiting and modifying works.
Guillaume Henry, the responsible reporter of this Study Question, points out: "This Study Question is probably the largest study on moral rights that has been conducted by IP practitioners to date." It aims to propose the most efficient legal regime of moral rights, by protecting the legitimate interests of the authors on the one hand and avoiding paralysing the exploitation of works on the other hand.
Out of the 37 reports received from AIPPI's National and Regional Groups and Independent Members, it follows that a clear majority (85%) of the responding Groups consider that harmonisation regarding moral rights is desirable. All reports consider that moral rights should be recognized, and a large majority considers that they should protect all types of works. Among the reports, there is also a consensus that at least three major moral rights should be recognized: the right of disclosure, the right of attribution and the right to integrity. The Summary Report points out that there is also a consensus to provide some reasonable exceptions to moral rights for specific works. Furthermore, the majority of the Groups considers that it should – to some extent – be possible to contract on moral rights.
According to Guillaume Henry, “the resolution that will be discussed at the plenary session is very ambitious, as it develops a complete regime of moral rights”. Indeed, the draft resolution deals with all the major legal issues relating to moral rights: the scope of protection of moral rights, the definition of the different categories of moral rights, but also exceptions to moral rights, the duration, the ownership and infringement of moral rights.
Following the informal Online Study Committee meeting that took place prior the Congress, a revised draft resolution was circulated and discussed in the in-person Study Committee meeting here in San Francisco on Saturday. Eleonore Gaspar, chair of the Study Committee, says: "The pre-congress online meeting gave the occasion of fruitful debate and to discuss the most controversial issues such as the scope of the exceptions or the extent of the possibility to contract on moral rights".
Today, the draft resolution will be further discussed during a Plenary Session chaired by John Osha. Guillaume Henry says: "This resolution will be a very important landmark in the development of the copyright doctrine of AIPPI".