Every year on 26 April, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) celebrates the World Intellectual Property Rights Day. This year in particular, WIPO explores how innovation and progress make lives better, and what more can be done to make sure new technologies reach the people who need them. They are also inviting ideas on the priorities for future innovation through Twitter under the hashtag #WorldIPDay.Libraries Love Innovators

IFLA is joining this celebration by reminding how libraries support innovation and improve lives. Libraries provide their users with the necessary material to do research, preserve and provide access to unique documents, support text and data mining, and facilitate cross-border collaboration in international research. Libraries serve everyone regardless of their origin or wealth, and are therefore fundamental in guaranteeing equitable access to information. All of this is done while respecting intellectual property rights.

The rise of digital technology offers new possibilities of access to information and innovation. In order to respond to their users’ expectations, libraries need to keep up to date with technological developments and adapt to new possibilities. However, outdated copyright laws make it difficult, sometimes impossible, for libraries to do so. If nothing is done to correct this situation, the negative outcomes will hit hardest those with less possibility to access information, leaving innovation in the hands of the few. 

Together with partner Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that represent the interests of libraries, museums and archives from all over the world, IFLA will be participating at WIPO’s 34th Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) from 1 to 5 May 2017. For many years, IFLA has been actively advocating for better exceptions and limitations to copyright for libraries and calling for an international legal instrument that will support domestic policy makers in passing reforms that benefit the public, while allowing cross-border collaboration.

To guarantee that libraries continue to play their role in facilitating research and innovation, IFLA will continue to take action internationally for an updated copyright framework for libraries.