The Finnish Foundation for Cultural Policy Research (Cupore), at the request of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, has developed a methodology for assessing the operation of copyright and related rights systems. While the methodology on its own will not provide policymakers with a tool to make specific copyright policy choices (e.g., whether to adopt a particular exception), it does tell policymakers what questions they should be asking and what factors they should be considering. Moreover, the methodology recognizes the importance of balancing the interests of diverse stakeholders in order to achieve the goals of the copyright system. As such, it is an extremely useful contribution to the copyright policy field.
The methodology is likely to gain traction at the World Intellectual Property Organization not only because of its subtlety and sophistication, but also because of its chief sponsor, Jukka Liedes, the former Director of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. Liedes was chairman of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights for many years, and helped develop the methodology WIPO adopted for assessing the contribution of copyright industries to national economies.
The main purpose of the methodology is to support national governments when they are designing new measures for improving the operation of the copyright system. The handbook describing the methodology states that it is designed to help “build a profound understanding of the copyright system, its different elements and different aspects of its operation, therefore serving as a tool in the formulation of copyright policies and strategies.” (p. 12)
The handbook recognizes the methodology’s limitations. It provides “an understanding of the current state of a copyright system,” but “it does not focus on the possible future impacts of policy proposals.” (p. 39) Accordingly, the methodology would need to be complemented by impact assessment studies when changes in the law are contemplated.
Further, with respect to the indicators the methodology highlights, the handbook acknowledges that it “can be challenging to distinguish the effects of the copyright system from those of other forces influencing the markets. In many cases, in-depth analysis is needed to understand the potentially complex causal chains.” (p. 40) Although the handbook concedes that the methodology has “many descriptive elements,” it urges that the methodology be used to discover “the effects of the system’s operation on different stakeholders.” (Id.)