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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 Outdated copyright laws increasingly prevent libraries and archives from performing their most basic functions, simply because resources are now digital.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

A Damaging Delay: Libraries and Users in South Africa Forced to Wait Longer for Overdue Reforms

Following years of advocacy in favour of long-overdue copyright reforms, libraries in South Africa will need to wait a while longer for change. Following pressure from foreign governments, the Parliament will now have to reconsider the Copyright Amendment Bill.

29 Juni 2020 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Copyright, Copyright exceptions and limitations, South Africa

IFLA Signs on to ICOLC Statement on Resource Access during COVID-19, Shares Principles for Associations in Negotiations

IFLA has signed onto the Statement by the International Coalition of Library Consortia on the global COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on library services and resources. To further support members, IFLA's Advisory Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters has produced principles for use in negotiation with rightholders.

27 Mai 2020

Leading library, archives, and museum organisations call on WIPO to help safeguard cultural heritage

With this year's World Intellectual Property Day focusing on innovation for a green future, IFLA and its partners have come together to call on governments and the World Intellectual Property Organization not to forget the past. An open letter calling for action to ensure that intellectual property laws do not stand in the way of preservation of heritage faced with climate change already has 155 organisational and institutional co-signatories, and 55 individuals. The letter is still open for signatories.

27 April 2020 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Copyright, Preservation, Climate change, climate heritage

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