2021 has begun and IFLA is already on the way to being a busy year. While all libraries are facing information access problems because of COVID-19, we are committed to continuing efforts to build better opportunities for users through improved legal frameworks for copyright. Find out what our plans and expectations are for 2021.

WIPO developments

IFLA will continue to engage within the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), ensuring that the interests of libraries are heard in discussions within the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights.

The crisis related to COVID-19 has highlighted many issues around access to information and in particular the need for an appropriate framework for digital uses.

IFLA has encouraged WIPO to take steps to support the dissemination of knowledge in difficult times through developments in response to COVID-19, and any future health crises.

IFLA also remains ready to engage on the issue of heritage preservation to enable libraries, archives and museums to make preservation copies to protect them from the degradation caused by time, fire, floods and other disasters.

The mobilisation of librarians from around the world to ensure coordination between WIPO Member States and library representatives is essential. Therefore, we are preparing two meetings to help you get started with work with WIPO.

Copyright Reforms around the world

IFLA remains very active on copyright reforms around the world. This  work can only be done with the support and dedication of IFLA Members.

Thanks to the mobilisation of European library associations and national libraries, IFLA has been closely following the implementation of the EU Digital Single Market Directive. This implementation is due to be completed by June 2021.

While many countries such as Spain, Belgium, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia and Bulgaria are well on their way to complete the implementation, some have still a long way to go such as Portugal, Luxembourg or countries in the European Economic Area such as Norway and Iceland.

On a global level, many countries have also launched copyright reforms, and IFLA is keeping abreast of developments in permanent collaboration with our local colleagues and Members.

Library users in Mexico are facing attacks on user rights (freedom of expression and access to information) on online platforms through unbalanced copyright laws, and South Africa continues to delay in its efforts to update its copyright laws after more than 42 years, leaving these provisions inadequate to the needs of libraries. India and Brazil have launched consultations, but it remains to be seen where these will go.

Concerning the issue of intermediary liability, the European Commission has launched proposals for a Digital Services Act on the regulation of major online platforms and the Digital Markets Act on technological competition and its impacts. There are also growing debates in the US and Australia about how to regulate major internet platforms. These all raise key legal questions – often copyright also – that affect how information is shared and discovered.

Copyright Education

Another crucial theme for 2021 will also be copyright education.Copyright is an area where there is a need for librarians to be able to work with knowledge and confidence in order to be able to support users. Many professionals have expressed their interest in training and guidance. IFLA is therefore working with copyright and literacy professionals to develop guidelines for training librarians at the international level.

These guidelines, which will cover key copyright issues in libraries, will support the training of librarians who are members of library associations at the national level.