Open letter: WIPO should react to COVID-19 accordingly

On Friday, 3 April 2020, numerous individuals and organizations representing researchers, educators and students sent an open letter to the WIPO Director, dr. Francis Gurry. In the letter, they urge WIPO to take action and ensure that copyright systems in the Member States offer support in tackling the Coronavirus outbreak and its consequences. IPI and dr. Maja Bogataj Jančič are among the signatories as well.

Over the past few weeks, the pandemic has not only shaken the foundations of countries’ health systems around the world, but also clearly emphasised the importance of copyright exemptions and restrictions for scientific and educational development. As scientists have discovered the spread of the virus with the help of copyright exception for Text and Data Mining of scientific articles, so can patent exceptions (e.g. experimental use) contribute to faster discovery of potential treatments. At a time when education has moved online completely, we can witness both good and bad practices that either allow or prevent access to educational materials, academic articles, and other copyrighted works.

In order to address the intellectual property issues that have emerged with the new coronavirus outreak, research and education organizations and individuals have called upon WIPO, as a global intellectual property organization, to encourage its Member States to make use of all the flexibilities in the system to make protected works widely available for the purposes of education, scientific research etc. and to call for the removal of licenses that prevent cross-border teaching and research.
The letter in full (PDF) is available here.

So far, the letter has been endorsed by more than 450 signatories, representing more than 32.5 million educators, 2.5 million libraries and 200 copyright scholars in 199 countries, as well as over 45.000 museum professionals in 142 countries. You can access the full list of signatories here and endorse the letter here.