Español | français | Deutsch

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 Outdated copyright laws increasingly prevent libraries and archives from performing their most basic functions, simply because resources are now digital.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

Última actualización: 12 Enero 2019

Latest News

Progress on Exceptions and Limitations to Copyright in Latin America and the Caribbean

The third and final WIPO regional seminar on exceptions and limitations took place in Santo Domingo on 4-5 July. It looked into the copyright rules that define whether libraries, archives, museums, and education and research institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean can do their jobs. IFLA was there to promote the need for international action.

15 Julio 2019 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Dominican Republic -, Copyright, Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives, WIPO

Outcomes of the second WIPO regional seminar: #Copyright4Libraries in the African Region

African countries have very different copyright laws, all at various stages of development and/or review. Some countries have very outdated copyright laws, whilst others have amended their copyright laws more recently, or are in the process of reviewing them, for example, Kenya and South Africa. IFLA and partner organisations advocated for adequate and balanced copyright laws for libraries, archives, museums, research and education at the WIPO regional seminar for the African region.

27 Junio 2019 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Advocacy, Copyright, Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives, Africa

European Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market: what it is about and why libraries should care

On 17 May 2019, after several years of discussion, the European Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market was published in the official journal of the European Union. It enters into force on 20 June 2019, which marks the beginning of a two-year period for member states to change their laws in order to meet the objectives of the directive.

18 Junio 2019 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Advocacy, Archives, Associations, Conservation, Copyright, Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives, Cultural heritage, Digital Humanities, Digital libraries, Digital preservation, Digitisation, Europe

Web Editor for this group