WIPO Regional Seminars on Exceptions and Limitations

The World Intellectual Property Organisation is holding a series of regional seminars on copyright exceptions for libraries and others. Here we bring together the key background materals and reports that can help you understand the issues and get engaged.

At the 36th session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Member States agreed on an action plan.

This aims to advance understanding, draw on local expertise, and establish possible ways forwards for the committee’s work on limitations and exceptions to copyright for libraries, archives, museums and education and research institutions.

A key element of this work is a series of three regional seminars on copyright exceptions and limitations, held on 29-30 April in Singapore, 12-13 June in Nairobi, Kenya, and 4-5 July in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

These events are a great way to share real-life experience from librarians in each region – Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean respectively (the countries in each group are indicated, broadly, here).

We will therefore be looking to make the case to government officials that business as usual is not good enough for libraries and their users. Only action at the level of WIPO can provide the impetus and the clarity to drive domestic reforms, and allow copyright exceptions to work across borders.  

IFLA will be represented in all three events, working with local librarians to make the case in person. But to succeed, we need the help of librarians and library friends across the region, who can write to their governments, and set out the need for action at the international level.

To get involved, the following tools may be useful!


IFLA has run webinars for each of the three regional workshops in English, as well as one in French for Africa and one in Spanish for Latin America and the Caribbean. These explain the background to the seminars, and share some information about what is happening in each region.

Watch the webinars again: Asia-Pacific (English), Africa (English, French), Latin America and the Caribbean (English, Spanish)


These set out data from the study by Professor Kenneth Crews on exceptions and limitations to copyright for libraries and archives. They underline inconsistencies in the law today, and in particular how few countries have rules fit for the digital world.

Infographics are available for Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean [EN / ES]. For Latin America and the Caribbean, some excellent work has been done locally on the basis of the Crews report.

Five Reasons Why We Need International Action

This document sets out the key arguments for not just relying on change at the domestic level.

Contact Details for Copyright Offices 

WIPO keeps a list of names and websites for copyright offices – these may help you in finding out who is responsible for copyright where you are.

Template Letter 

In advance of the seminar in your region, you can use an adapted (and translated) version of this letter to share your priorities with your copyright office.

Seminar Reports

IFLA will share notes after each seminar, as well as news stories. These will be made available as they are ready.

For Singapore, read our note and news story.

For Nairobi, read our news story.

Briefings, CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Copyright, Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives, WIPO

Dernière mise à jour: 12 juillet 2019