IFLA has joined with organisations focused on defending rights of access to education and research in signing on to an open letter for World Intellectual Property (IP) Day.

This year’s theme is youth, and the contribution that IP can make to supporting opportunities for all young people to realise their potential.

Much of the focus is of course on questions around how to help young inventors and creators use IP effectively to turn their talents into livelihoods.

However, it is crucial also to remember how – in the process of becoming inventors, creators, or anything else in fact – young people often depend on copyright exceptions and limitations.

Education, for example, benefits hugely from provisions that facilitate the use of materials for teaching and study. Students and researchers gain from laws that make clear that they can make fair uses of copyrighted materials.

Too often, however, such provisions do not exist, or are unsuited to a digital, globalised world. Of course, the primary responsibility for addressing this lies with national governments, but they alone cannot address cross-border issues, and may often lack certainty about what is possible under international law.

A comprehensive approach to IP and youth must therefore include action to support learning and research.

The open letter launched today by IFLA alongside Education International, Knowledge Rights 21 and other organisations underlines this point, and calls in particular on the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) to ensure it uses its next meeting to make progress.

You can download the letter in English, French and Spanish.