6 Dezember 2019

3 reasons why libraries should care about the EU-Digital Single Market Directive

This Saturday, 7 December 2019, IFLA wishes to highlight an important date for European libraries: we are 18 months from the final date of the implementation of the new European Copyright Directive in Europe, the Digital Single Market Directive. 7 June 2021 will be the deadline for the implementation procedure. 

This law concerns many private but also public actors such as libraries. Libraries in each country will need to be involved in this process, because it is the decisions taken in national capitals that will determine how much the new rules benefit libraries and their users.

This is because while European law has proposed a general direction, countries have a number of crucial choices to make when putting this into practice. It is exactly at this moment that libraries and their users must make themselves known and be recognised by their governments as actors and especially beneficiaries to be taken into account in the discussions!

Each country has its own way of dealing with this implementation: open public consultations, closed consultations via questionnaires, meetings with actors open to all or targeted at pre-identified actors.

Why should Libraries be part of the discussion on the Digital Single Market Implementation?

Libraries are the best stakeholder to explain their work and set out what they - and their users - need. Here are just a few reasons why libraries should engage on each provision.

Text and Data Mining (Article 3 and 4)

  1. Libraries should care because enbaling text and data mining on all legally accessed materials without unnecessary barriers promises to support reesarch, innovation and journalism.
  2. Libraries should care because they should be able to give access to their users to carry out text and data mining on-site and remotely.
  3. Libraries should care because they should be sure that technological protection measures (digital locks) are removed from materials within 72 hours or be able to remove it themselves.

Use of Works in Teaching Activities (Article 5)

  1. Libraries should care because they support education themselves, and should benefit from new possibilities to copy works to support learning.
  2. Libraries should care because they need to be able to respond to their users' needs for digital copies and non-digital copies for education purposes.
  3. Libraries should care because online and cross-border education provide new opportnities to give access to infomration and develop skills.

Preservation Of Cultural Heritage (Article 6)

  1. Libraries should care because cross-border preservation networks, which provide a key means of carrying out digitisation in a cost-effective way, should enjoy a solid legal basis.
  2. Libraries should care because they should be able to make preservation copies without having to wait until it is almost too late.
  3. Libraries should care because they should ensure that the widest possible range of works is covered (i.e. not limit the new rules to physical works, but also those held on third party servers to which they have open-ended access).

Contract Override and Technological Protection Measures (Article 7)

  1. Libraries should care because their work must be simplified by the law, and reduce the obligation to check contracts every time they want to make a legitimate use.
  2. Libraries should care because they should be able to provide access to the material protected by technological protection measures (digital locks) within 72 hours.
  3. Libraries should care because they need clarity on the process for removing or circumventing technological protection measures.

Out-of-Commerce Works (Article 8-10)

  1. ­Libraries should care because they need a legal and usable means to give access to collections of Out-Of-Commerce works.
  2. Libraries should care about the definition of where exceptions or licences apply, to ensure that works are not left in a no-man’s-land where libraries cannot use an exception, but no collection society is willing or able to offer a licence.
  3. Libraries should care because if the rules for deciding if a work is out-of-commerce or not are too difficult, libraries are not going to be able to use them.

Works of Visual Art in the Public Domain (Article 14)

  1. Libraries should care because they care about encouraging and support research through public domain visual art reproductions in the public domain.
  2. Libraries should care because they should be able to provide access to all users of works in visual art in the public domain. 
  3. Libraries should care because they will gain from the development of a clear definition of the public domain in their national law.

Press Publishers’ rights (Article 15)

  1. Libraries should care because they should not need to pay more to make use of clippings or short extracts from press publications as non-profit, public educational institution.  
  2. Libraries should care because they can help limit the damage to the research, education and cultural heritage communities by defining an extensive list of excluded websites (such as blogs, social media, news site, press agency, scientific journals).
  3. Libraries should care because news aggregators are a great tool for promoting media and information literacy.

Use of protected content by online content-sharing service providers (Article 17)

  1. Libraries should care because their users rely on the rights of freedom of expression and access to information. Platforms supporting the work of cultural heritage and research institutions should therefore be excluded by having a very clear definition of “Online Content-Sharing Service Provider”.
  2. Libraries should care because they are working with all types of scientific and educational repositories falling in the scope of this provision.
  3. Libraries should care because they and their users need to be able to enjoy exceptions and limitations to copyright when using platforms, and not face filtering or restrictions imposed by service providers.

We invite you to contact your government to take part in the exchanges, suggest your recommendations and/or through your library association with whom you can join forces.

IFLA and its partners invite you to discover our guidelines for libraries to follow the implementation and benefit from the best laws for our field.

Feel free to take part in the discussion list on this topic.

CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Copyright

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