Report to Council 2007


The Committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters (CLM) was created
by IFLA in 1997 to advise IFLA and its members not only on matters with
respect to copyright and other areas of intellectual property, but also
on economic and trade barriers to the acquisition and use of library
resources, disputed claims of ownership of library materials,
subscription and license agreements, and a wide range of other legal
matters of international significance to libraries and librarianship.
CLM works with and through national and regional library associations
to ensure that IFLA’s core value of providing "universal and equitable
access to information, ideas and works of the imagination" is
sustained, and in particular focuses on IFLA’s professional priority of
"balancing the intellectual property rights of authors with the needs
of users."


The Committee comprises the chair and members from 19 countries,
nominated by their national library associations. Many members’ terms
expire at the end of the Durban WLIC. For the 2007-2009 term, CLM will
comprise the chair and have members from 27 countries. In addition, CLM
relies on a small group of expert resource persons who provide advice
in various areas of interest to the community. CLM has also established
liaison relationships with several organizations whose complementary
missions make them important partners for IFLA: eIFL, EBLIDA, and the
World Blind Union.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

As CLM is entirely a volunteer-driven entity, with no on-going staff
support, we have had to focus our energies on areas where we felt CLM
could have the greatest impact, and where threats to our ability to
preserve a balance between user and owner rights were most alarming.
Consequently, we have increased our already intense involvement with
WIPO in Geneva, where CLM representatives, often in conjunction with
colleagues from eIFL and the (US) Library Copyright Alliance,
participated actively in 16 meetings between September 2005 and July
2007. Through written and oral interventions [many of which are
available on the CLM website],
collaboration with NGOs having similar goals, and aggressive lobbying
of representatives from Members States, we have achieved some notable
successes for libraries:

  1. Development Agenda. At meetings of the
    Provisional Committee on Proposals Related to a WIPO Development Agenda
    (PCDA) in February and June the delegates reached agreement on a series
    of proposals of immense importance to libraries - such as access to
    knowledge, exceptions and limitations for libraries and the importance
    of preserving the public domain. An especially important contribution
    from the library community was the paper jointly prepared by IFLA, eIFL
    and LCA on the public domain, which immediately became a reference
    point for many delegates. While the results to date surpass any
    expectations we had when the development agenda process began several
    years ago, we cannot relent or relax. The PCDA recommendations will be
    taken up by the General Assemblies in September, and CLM
    representatives will be present and working hard to ensure that they
    are adopted and formally become WIPO’s agenda for the future.
  2. Broadcast Treaty.
    During the past biennium the single most important issue taken up by
    WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) has
    been a proposed broadcast treaty. It is a challenge to describe exactly
    what the proposed treaty would have covered, as lack of transparency
    and agreement on this core issue led to impasses at every session. But
    IFLA’s opposition to the treaty was driven by the core principle that
    there should be no expansion of intellectual property protection unless
    those proposing it could demonstrate convincingly that it was in the
    public good. For a variety of reasons, the most important of which is
    inability to reach the kind of consensus on which progress in WIPO
    depends, the broadcast treaty has been abandoned, at least for now.
    Some fear that this may be a Pyrrhic victory, signaling a decline in
    WIPO’s overall strength that may inhibit progress on issues we care
    deeply about, such as the development agenda. Only time well tell.
  3. Traditional Knowledge.
    For several years WIPO has been investigating, through its
    Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic
    Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), what kinds of
    protection should be given to folklore and other "traditional cultural
    expressions." These issues are of great important to libraries in all
    parts of the world as they raise questions very different from those we
    face in handling published materials - e.g., who "owns" expressions
    created over time by a community, and should intellectual property
    protection be limited in duration or perpetual. While the CLM Chair was
    able to participate in the most recent of these sessions in July, IFLA
    volunteers have to been able to devote as much attention to this WIPO
    activity as we intend to in the future. To help acquaint IFLA members
    with these issues, CLM has planned a programme on Traditional Knowledge
    for the Durban conference.
  4. Relations with WIPO leaders.
    During the past two years representatives of CLM, eIFL and the LCA have
    had several productive meetings with high-level WIPO administrators not
    simply to acquaint them with our issues but to seek means for
    developing on-going engagement in substantive activities. We were
    pleased to be given the opportunity to comment on WIPO’s draft "model
    law," and are pleased that WIPO has appointed an attorney, Geidy Lung,
    to serve as a liaison with CLM. Most importantly, IFLA and eIFL have
    sought and been granted a high-level meeting in Geneva with the leaders
    of WIPO this fall at which we will discuss issues of importance to
    libraries and our users and develop a plan for regular briefings on
    such issues for WIPO staff and for participation in the regional
    workshops WIPO convenes in various parts of the world each year.

Access for print-disabled people

Shortly after the Oslo World Congress, the Chairs of CLM and IFLA’s
Libraries for the Blind Section wrote to each of the IFLA national
associations encouraging them to join IFLA and the World Blind Union
(WBU) in persuading their governments to add to their national
copyright laws provisions from WIPO’s model copyright law that would
improve access to information for print-disabled people. Simultaneously
CLM worked with the WBU to encourage WIPO to undertake a comprehensive
study of limitations and exceptions for print-disabled people, which
was published earlier this year and can be found at Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for the Visually Impaired.


CLM members are very proud of our accomplishments since we last
reported to Council, and the chair wishes to give a special thank you
to CILIP, eIFL and the State and University Library in Denmark for
supporting regular participation by their staff in WIPO meetings. But
much remains to be done! In particular, all of IFLA’s national
association members need to develop both expertise on intellectual
property issues of greatest importance to libraries and the capacity to
influence both their national legislators and their representatives to
international fora such as IFLA. CLM has sought external funding that
will enable us to offer several workshops to develop this expertise in
various regions. Finally, as the chair has mentioned in previous
reports, IFLA needs to develop its own capacity for supporting the
Society Pillar. We are grateful to IFLA’s President, Secretary General
and Governing Board for the progress made in the past year toward a
plan that will secure on-going staff support for our advocacy efforts,
and look forward to helping bring this plan to fruition in the next few

Respectfully submitted,

Winston Tabb
Chair, CLM

CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters)

Last update: 5 October 2012