IFLA submits comments on Canada, Singapore copyright reforms
13 April 2021
IFLA has contributed to consultations on reforms to copyright laws in Canada and Singapore, making recommendations designed to give the best possible opportunities for libraries and their users to access and use information.
In addition to its work at the World Intellectual Property Organization, IFLA has a strong focus on supporting copyright reforms at the national level that libraries to fulfil their missions.
Through sharing good practices from other countries, we aim to increase the possibilities for libraries to carry out key activities in support of preservation, research, education and cultural participation.
Mitigating the Impacts of Term Extension: Canada
In the Canada-Mexico-United States trade agreement, Canada committed to extend the term of copyright protection from 50 years to 70 years after the death of the author.
In general, IFLA tends to oppose extending the term of copyright protection because this action delays access to copyrighted works, and intensifies challenges around orphan works or those which are out of commerce. However, where extension is inevitable, there are possibilities to minimise the harm that it can do.
In a contribution echoing that of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, IFLA therefore encouraged the development of options to enable the use of use of orphan and out-of-commerce works, as well as an exception for the use of works 100 years after their creation.
To the same end, IFLA strongly encouraged the establishment of a registration system if rightholders wish to exercise their rights for the final 20 years of protection, enabling unregistered works to enter the public domain.
IFLA also supported other library contributions underlining the importance of flexibility around Canada’s fair dealing exception, the limitation of liability of library staff when working with orphan and out-of-commerce works, and the need to be clear that there should not be the possibility to waive exceptions in the terms of contracts.
Read IFLA’s complete response to the Canadian consultation as a pdf.
On the Road to a Model Reform: Singapore
Over the past five years, Singapore has been working towards a significant reform of its copyright laws, designed to simplify them and ensure that they remain relevant in the digital age.
Key proposals include providing clear permission for text and data mining and the use of digital materials in education, and making the implementation of Singapore’s Fair Use provisions simpler. There are also important steps to ensure that the activities of libraries cannot be taken away by the terms of contracts.
In its response, IFLA strongly welcomed the Singaporean government’s emphasis on reforms informed by evidence and focused on establishing the right balance in copyright laws for the digital age.
It called, in particular, for greater clarity around enabling text-and-data mining of library collections remotely, ensuring that libraries do not face unnecessary administrative burdens in checking on the commercial availability of works, and broadening provisions implementing the Marrakesh Treaty to guarantee that people with print disabilities can benefit for a wider range of purposes.
Read IFLA’s complete submission as a pdf.