Annual report 2004

January 1st - December 31st, 2004

CLM was established to advise IFLA and its constituent groups with respect to copyright and intellectual property, economic barriers to the acquisition and use of library materials, trade agreements affecting library services, disputed claims of ownership of library materials, authenticity of electronic texts, subscriptions and license agreements, and other legal matters of international significance to libraries and librarianship.

The membership of the Committee is to be representative of all regions of the world; and IFLA's term limits are designed to enable broad participation in CLM over time. In response to a call for nominations from the IFLA Governing Board early in the year, 32 people were nominated from 28 countries. At its March meeting, the Governing Board approved the appointment of 22 members, including six who were appointed to the second and final term. The Governing Board also named 5 members of the CLM Advisory Board, including Vinyet Panyella of Spain, to serve as CLM's liaison to the Governing Board. In addition, the Chair of CLM asked seven individuals to serve as resource persons for CLM.

The newly-constituted committee held two formal business meetings during the IFLA World Congress in Buenos Aires. In addition to discussing the programs planned for the Buenos Aires Congress and future Congresses, CLM devoted considerable time to reports from CLM members about the most critical intellectual property issues affecting libraries in their respective countries, addressed copyright issues relating to the blind and other print-disabled readers, reviewed a draft statement of principles that should guide future developments of intellectual property laws prepared by James Boyle (see below), agreed that CLM/IFLA should make a special effort to spur the establishment of copyright committees within all of IFLA's national association members, and received an update on various recent copyright developments within the European Union.

CLM was pleased to welcome to its second meeting in Buenos Aires two special guests: Ana Cabanellas (ARGENTINA), President of the International Publishers Association; and Geidy Lung (VENEZUELA), copyright specialist now posted to WIPO headquarters in Geneva.

CLM members discussed with Ms. Cabanellas various ways in which librarians could promote copyright awareness - a better understanding of what users may and may not do with copyrighted works; and with Ms. Lung, ways in which IFLA could play a more effective role as an accredited NGO within WIPO.

Among the most hotly debated issues was the role and impact on libraries of public lending right (PLR) regimes as they exist in various countries. Some members argued that PLR has a negative impact on libraries, particularly in those countries where the funds used to pay authors may be taken from the libraries' own budgets; other members argued that in some countries PLR has enabled libraries and authors to establish mutually beneficial relationships that have served to promote greater use of public libraries. This topic was also the subject of a resolution introduced at IFLA's Council II meeting, the day following CLM II.

By act of Council, the resolution was referred to IFLA's Governing Board which, in turn, directed the Chair of CLM to review the issue in light of IFLA's own core values and professional priorities, and to prepare for the Governing Board a response based on consultations with members of CLM, the Chairs of the Public Libraries Standing Committee and Division 8, and others as deemed appropriate. In response, the Chair of CLM asked CLM member Barbara Stratton (UK) to prepare a draft response by February 1, 2005 for consideration by the Governing Board at its March 2005 meeting The Hague.

In compliance with IFLA's new procedures for the organization of annual Congresses, CLM directly sponsored just one program in Buenos Aires. Speakers included James Boyle (USA), who made a very forceful defense of the public domain in his presentation, "The second enclosure movement and the role of libraries in protecting public domain"; Luis Villarroel (CHILE), who gave an excellent overview of "Exceptions and limitations to copyright for libraries in Latin America"; and Paul Whitney (CANADA), outgoing member of CLM, who presented a compelling case study, "Very different perspectives: how the Canadian courts and legislators view digital copyright." In addition, CLM was glad to participate in a very informative and important half-day session, co-sponsored by the Sections on Libraries for the Blind and Libraries for the Disadvantaged, on access to copyrighted materials for print-disabled users.

Previous annual reports have mentioned the necessity for IFLA's becoming more engaged with WIPO. One means of accomplishing this objective has been the appointment of a resident librarian who can not only monitor WIPO's copyright activities but also attend appropriate WIPO meetings in Geneva. With support from the Swiss library community, CLM is fortunate to have engaged Jarka Looks, Vice-Director and Head of the library at the Swiss Institute for Comparative Law, to fulfill this function. But in 2004 IFLA had the opportunity to increase its engagement with WIPO in significant additional ways, as IFLA was invited to participate in a broad-based convocation of NGO's in Geneva in September, convened to develop a plan for affecting WIPO's future agenda.

One important outcome of this meeting and the conference that followed was the creation of the Geneva Declaration on the Future of the World Intellectual Property Organization, which IFLA helped write and enthusiastically endorsed. The Declaration was released in Geneva in September 2004, timed to coincide with the opening of WIPO's Assemblies of member states. Simultaneously with the publication of the Declaration, IFLA published The IFLA Position on the Geneva Declaration of the Future of WIPO [中文, français, Polski], which had been drafted by CLM member Denise Nicholson (SOUTH AFRICA).

Publication of this position paper gave IFLA an opportunity to highlight concerns of particular interest to IFLA and librarians, such as the growing imbalance in intellectual property laws between owners and users, technological protection measures, and the increasing use of Free Trade Agreements, rather than copyright laws, to control access to intellectual property. At year's end, CLM was preparing for a follow-up meeting in Geneva, co-sponsored by IFLA, in February 2005. This meeting will focus on the creation of a concrete action agenda that IFLA and other NGO's will urge WIPO and its member states to pursue to make real the belief embodied in our core values "that people, communities and organizations need universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination for their social, educational, cultural, democratic, and economic well-being."

CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters)

Last update: 27 January 2015