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Copyright limitations and exceptions are fundamental for access to knowledge and thus for human and social development.

Why is IFLA advocating for copyright reform at WIPO?

Copyright laws are meant to balance the public interest in accessing information with the rights of authors, artists, and publishers. In some countries, copyright laws include provisions so libraries and archives can provide public access to the world’s knowledge—but in many countries, these exceptions apply only to resources that exist in traditional formats. Outdated copyright laws increasingly prevent libraries and archives from performing their most basic functions, simply because resources are now digital. In a number of countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, there are no exceptions safeguarding the services of libraries and archives at all.

As rules in favor of copyright holders have increased through binding global treaties, rules for libraries and archives that enable access to information have stayed frozen. The result is a broken copyright system that:

  • Deepens inequalities in public knowledge and skills
  • Creates permanent holes in the historical record
  • Prevents information created today from being available for future generations

IFLA believes that international action is needed to ensure essential library and archive functions continue to be preserved in copyright laws.

What would an international framework look like?

IFLA is seeking an international framework that will facilitate library lending, inter library loan and document supply in digital and print forms; enable use of orphan works; ensure the ability to acquire eBooks from publishers; protect library exceptions from override by contract; among other important library activities. The Treaty Proposal on Copyright Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives was created by library and archive experts to guide Member States at the SCCR on model copyright provisions and needs to support the activities of these sectors.

What stage are the negotiations at?

Following the successful conclusion of a treaty to ensure access to works for visually impaired people (the Marrakesh Treaty) in June 2013, copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives are high on the SCCR agenda. This is an important opportunity to establish the concerns of libraries and archives, and build momentum to advance SCCR discussions towards an international instrument.  

Letzte Aktualisierung: 12 Januar 2019

Latest News

Welcome progress on Marrakesh implementation in Colombia, but libraries must be included to achieve equity

IFLA has addressed a letter to the Colombian government, welcoming progress on passing laws to enable access to information with people with disabilities, and urging the inclusion of libraries in the implementation process.

14 April 2021 | Access to knowledge, Copyright, Services to the visually impaired, Colombia, Marrakesh Treaty

IFLA submits comments on Canada, Singapore copyright reforms

IFLA has contributed to consultations on reforms to copyright laws in Canada and Singapore, making recommendations designed to give the best possible opportunities for libraries and their users to access and use information.

13 April 2021 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to knowledge, Copyright, Copyright exceptions and limitations, Canada, Singapore

Promise, progress... and persistent problems: catching up on the situation for eLending in the United States

The past year has underlined how essential it is for libraries to be able to offer access to content digitally. With major expansion in demand from users, there have been both welcome moves from publishers to facilitate access, but also increasingly clear evidence of underlying challenges in the eBook market. We interviewed Sari Feldman and Alan Inouye, ALA, to get an update.

6 April 2021 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, eBooks, United States of America, elending, e-Lending

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