THE HAGUE, Netherlands, 13 September 2018

In a vote on copyright today, Members of the European Parliament offered welcome support to libraries’ heritage work. However, disappointing decisions elsewhere mean that IFLA, its members and its partners will need to continue working towards a law that empowers libraries to help users share, create and innovate.

IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner said:

Libraries across Europe are working hard to build stronger, richer, fairer societies through access to information. We need forward-looking copyright reforms to deliver this. Europe still has a way to go before it has the laws its libraries deserve".

The European Union’s draft Directive on copyright has been the subject of intense discussion for almost two years. It is a crucial document for libraries, with provisions relating both to core activities for our institutions, as well as the way people express themselves and access information online.

IFLA has therefore worked hard on behalf of its European members, and in order to set the right precedent internationally. Our members have engaged with their representatives as part of a concerted campaign. And in most of the areas where libraries have focused most, there has been welcome progress.

If the text agreed by the Parliament becomes law, libraries will have clearer possibilities to digitise works for preservation, including via cross-border networks. They will benefit from possibilities to digitise and upload books, articles and other documents which are no longer on sale, and so not available anywhere else. And they will have a right to benefit from copyright exceptions for teaching.

Yet elsewhere, the majority of the European Parliament voted for provisions which could do serious damage to the not-for-profit platforms that host open access articles and open educational resources. They also proposed to make use of two-word fragments of news articles subject to payment. Finally, they have introduced complexity into the rules around text and data mining, which could create confusion and risk setting Europe further behind in the global innovation field.

The next stage for the reform is discussions between the European Commission, and representatives of the Parliament and Member States. IFLA will make sure that all involved know what they need to do to set the right course for a more creative, innovative future.

See our analysis of the impact on libraries of the Parliament's position.

About IFLA

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. Founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1927 at an international conference, IFLA now has over 1,400 Members in more than 140 countries around the world. IFLA was registered in the Netherlands in 1971. The Royal Library, the national library of the Netherlands, in The Hague, generously provides the facilities for IFLA headquarters.