In order to explain the concept of copyright literacy, its importance within the broader work of libraries and to make recommendations to key stakeholders, IFLA has published a statement on copyright education and copyright literacy.

To be copyright literate is to have sufficient copyright knowledge to be able to take well informed decisions on how to use copyrighted materials. It includes understanding the structure, functioning and implications of the copyright system, as laws, practices, and user expectations evolve. Copyright education is the process of developing and updating copyright literacy.

Many librarians’ work involves regularly dealing with copyright. From public libraries, to specialized and research libraries, questions arise around lending, the legal deposit, accessibility, preservation and many more activities. Furthermore, librarians are increasingly becoming a reference point for library users, faculty members and many others seeking for clarification on copyright-related matters.

In order both to carry out their own functions and duties, and to support colleagues and users in the most effective way possible, there is a need to increase copyright literacy among the profession.

Better informed, better advocates

At the same time, advocacy plays a key role in ensuring that laws are adequately shaped. A stronger understanding of the law can give librarians greater confidence in advocating for change.

Nonetheless, efforts in copyright education will never be enough for librarians to fulfil their public interest mission if bad or outdated laws stand in the way.   

IFLA’s copyright literacy and copyright education statement explains the concept of copyright literacy and describes its importance within the broader work of libraries. In order to provide guidance, and to support the work of IFLA members in their own advocacy, the statement lists recommendations aimed at governments, (including intergovernmental organisations), libraries, library associations and library educators.

Download the full statement, and use it in your own advocacy work to maximise access to information quickly! Follow IFLA’s advocacy on copyright on Twitter and Facebook, and the IFLA Policy and Advocacy Blog.