On 16-20 November 2020, the World Intellectual Property Organization hosted the 40th meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). The objective of this meeting – the first in over a year – was to take stock of work so far, and explore steps forwards on the Committee’s agenda, including its work on exceptions and limitations to copyright for libraries, archives and museums.

The meeting was held in digital version to avoid the complexities linked to the COVID19 pandemic, with two and a half hours of meeting per day.  

IFLA has continued to advocate for copyright rules for libraries to facilitate the evolution of professional practices of these institutions towards digital environments and this, focusing around two themes in its interventions.

First of all, IFLA raised awareness of the importance of setting up an international legal framework allowing for digital reproductions of heritage objects to protect them from weather degradation, human destruction or the impacts of global warming (fires, hurricanes, floods, rising waters).

The second theme that IFLA supported during SCCR40 is the need to make use of flexibilities in current international copyright laws, in particular to allow libraries but also archives, museums, research organizations and educational, to continue their online missions.

The need for action soon is pressing. These institutions are publicly funded organizations and act for the common good of all citizens. They have worked hard to participate in a joint effort by societies to support citizens in learning to read, to offer educational materials, to open up cultural perspectives to build enlightened societies.

IFLA stresses the need to provide them with an adequate legal environment which would allow them to carry out their physical activities in the same way online. IFLA is convinced that laws should not be dependent on the types of technologies, or pure goodwill, but should focus on the missions necessary for the development and well-being of communities.

Regarding the Public Lending Right – an issue brought to the table at the meeting – IFLA underlines the lack of concrete evidence regarding the impact of library lending on book sales and only considers a study on this subject if it considers the subject in a holistic way.

This would include also other means of supporting creators and artists such as the framing of contracts, transparency, reversion of rights, the right to renegotiate contracts, and the right for authors to benefit from organizations of professional representations.

SCCR recordings are available: here

Find out what delegates said on exceptions and limitations.


IFLA’s statements:

IFLA’s statement on exceptions and limitations

IFLA’s statement on Public Lending Right

Recorded statements of IFLA, EIFL and CFLA on Public Lending Right 

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