As part of a global group of organisations committed to promoting access to knowledge at the World Intellectual Property Organization and beyond, IFLA encourages the library field to engage with a new website which shares key resources and data for advocacy and awareness-raising.

A key goal of IFLA’s work at the World Intellectual Property Organization is to address the gaps in the possibilities open to libraries and their users to engage with copyrighted works in support of education, research, and cultural participation.

Too many countries still have no provisions in their copyright laws giving libraries reassurance that they can pursue their missions without fear of legal threats, or have laws that have not been adapted to reflect what users expect today. While some claim that these differences are simply a result of national preferences, this argument does not stand up in the face of the fact that the rights to education, research and culture are universal.

Furthermore, the design of copyright laws at the moment discourages cross-border cooperation, given divergence and inconsistency between national provisions.

In both cases, it is only action at the international level that can offer a meaningful and effective solution.

In support of this, the new Access to Knowledge Coalition website offers a valuable resource for anyone involved in promoting this goal. It brings together key texts as a starting point for advocacy in the fields of education, research and cultural heritage.

In addition, building on analysis of existing copyright laws, it includes overviews of how well copyright laws in different countries enable different key activities in the form of maps. Finally, there are blogs from organisations involved in this work, including of course IFLA.

We strongly encourage you to take a look at the material available, and to use it as the basis for reflection within associations and institutions on what changes libraries need in copyright laws, to work with partners in the education, research and cultural heritage space, and to get involved in advocacy.

To find out more about how to engage, get in touch!