The Hague
10 December 2015

Modernisation of EU Copyright rules: yes, but…

EBLIDA, the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations, and IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, welcome the Communication of the European Commission Towards a modern, more European copyright framework released 9 December 2015.

European cultural diversity, education and research is of primary importance to Europe's creative economy and needs to be supported by an up to date copyright framework that will keep pace with technological developments and support increased cross-border access to library and archive content. Further to EBLIDA’s comment on the Digital Single Market Strategy we support the EU Commission’s objectives of making EU copyright rules fit for the digital age and of building a modern and more European copyright framework. Vice-President ANSIP’s aim to widen people's access to cultural content online and Commissioner Oettinger’splan forfurther reform to make a copyright environment that is stimulating, fair, rewards investment in creativity and makes it easier for Europeans to access and use content legally will take Europe in the right direction for the digital environment.

EBLIDA President Jukka Relander said:

Because libraries and archives in Europe do not have uniform exceptions and limitations available to them in their member states, they cannot effectively share information across Europe’s borders. Citizens in the 28 EU member states have different and unequal access to information. 21st century libraries and archives need legal certainty to ensure that they can achieve their public service missions of providing free access to information to help build an innovative and inclusive society. EBLIDA agrees with the EU Commission that widening access to content across the EU is necessary and welcomes the opportunity to participate in consultations that consider exceptions to copyright rules for an innovative and inclusive society.”

IFLA President Donna Scheeder added:

We welcome the Commission’s commitment to copyright exceptions and limitations related to knowledge, research and education being a key priority of the coming Digital Single Market. That the Commission is considering new exceptions and limitations to permit text and data mining, remote consultation of library holdings and digital preservation demonstrates its understanding of the challenges libraries and archives face in the digital age.”

Both EBLIDA and IFLA note that there are critical issues for libraries that are not expressly included in the current communication. We will make sure that during this process to modernise EU copyright rules, the Commission also considers other issues that would benefit library and archive users, such as ensuring cross-border access by all citizens to information via libraries and archives, protecting statutory exceptions and limitations to copyright from being overridden and undermined by contractual clauses and introducing legislation to address the challenges of e-lending, to name but a few. We welcome the intention to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty 2013, but note that after two years there is still no proposed target date for achieving this.

Our organisations look forward to working closely with the Commission to ensure library issues are fully considered with the full participation of the European library community.