On Tuesday 11th December the European Parliament endorsed the first ever Digital Freedom Strategy in the European Union’s foreign policy. The strategy underlines the importance the EU places on digital freedoms, including uncensored access to the Internet and information sources, and endorses them as a fundamental human rights. The strategy furthermore recognizes the role of artistic freedom, and the freedom to imitate and reuse, as cornerstones for creativity and freedom of expression and ideas, and it highlights the significant role that copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives play in underpinning access to and usability of cultural heritage. The strategy sets out a number of concrete points of action to be incorporated in the EU’s trade and development policies.

The strategy report was presented to the European Parliament by Marietje Schaake, who has previously worked with IFLA on the subject of copyright exceptions and limitations. IFLA agrees with MEP Schaake that the opportunities offered by new and emerging technologies should be available and accessible for every citizen with no restrictions in order to guarantee equality and foster development.  The Digital Freedom Strategy’s acknowledgement of the role of libraries in providing access to culture is in line with IFLA’s work at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives. More information on this work and its implications for access to culture can be found in IFLA’s limitations and exceptions webpages.

Further information on the Digital Freedom Strategy can be found here and the full report accessed here