Report to council 2005
2005, August, Oslo, Norway
In 2002, when IFLA's Professional Committee decided, in concert with Members of the Association, to develop an explicit list of professional priorities, there was immediate and unanimous agreement that one of those priorities should relate explicitly to intellectual property, since laws in this area have such a major impact on IFLA's core value of providing "universal and equitable access to information, ideas and works of imagination." So one of IFLA's eleven professional priorities is "Balancing the Intellectual Property Rights of Authors with the Needs of Users," and CLM is the body within IFLA charged to work with IFLA's national associations and organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World Trade Organization (WTO), and UNESCO in the drafting of appropriate treaties and legislative models which attempt to bring balance between the rights of authors and the needs of users.
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 collections, disputed claims of ownership of library materials, repatriation, subscription and license agreements, and a wide range of other legal matters of international significance to libraries and librarianship.
The members of the Committee, who were appointed last year and are now ending the first year of their three-year terms, come from countries from all parts of the world - the chair plus 22 members from 22 countries on 6 continents. These members are assisted by a small cadre of expert resource persons who provide legal and strategic advice and without whom our progress would be severely constrained. In this context I am pleased to report the addition in the past year of three expert resource persons: Teresa Hackett, representing eIFL, a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Rome that has a special program devoted to advocacy for access to knowledge in c. 50 transition and developing countries; David Mann, representing the World Blind Union, with which IFLA CLM is working to secure adequate access for print-disabled people; and Luis Villarroel, Copyright Advisor to the Minister of Education in Chile, who has shown particular interest in provisions in copyright law that will benefit libraries. Strategic partnerships with organizations like eIFL and the World Blind Union are indispensable if we are to serve IFLA's members effectively, and we very much appreciate their support. I want publicly to thank all of my CLM colleagues who have worked hard to help us achieve IFLA's goals within our broad area of responsibility.
In the two years since my predecessor, Marianne Scott, last reported on CLM to this Council, your committee has been extraordinarily busy. CLM representatives have participated in several meetings at UNESCO, including sessions focused on the proposed UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions and the recent quadrennial session of the Intergovernmental Copyright Committee. We have also been active in The Netherlands at discussions involving the Hague Convention on Exclusive Choice of Court Agreements. The CLM chair serves as an ex officio member of the IFLA IPA Committee, which has met seven times since the Council meeting in Berlin to discuss areas of mutual concern such as open access, library access for print-disabled people, and legal deposit of electronic publications. CLM was invited by WIPO earlier this year to participate in a regional workshop in Hong Kong focused on "The role of libraries as information providers in the digital era." And we are preparing to participate actively in the forthcoming Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization whose actions, as those of you who attended our Oslo program on "Libraries and Free Trade Agreements" heard, may have significant impacts on libraries, especially in developing countries. Documents relating to most of these activities can be found on the IFLA CLM website, so I will not elaborate further. Instead, I would like to use the balance of my time to talk about three specific activities that have engaged our sustained attention this past year and to highlight two major needs to support our increasing effectiveness.
Public Lending Right
At the second Council meeting in Buenos Aires, a resolution was introduced with regard to "public lending right," a right that has long existed in some countries but by no means all, that enables authors in those countries to receive some form of compensation when their works are lent. Because the issue was quite complicated, unfamiliar to many delegates, and of particular relevance at that time only to countries within the European Union, the President declared that the Governing Board would consider the matter and take appropriate action. Subsequently the Governing Board decided to forward the resolution to CLM, requesting the Chair to look into the issue, in cooperation with the Chairs of Division 8 and the Section on Public Libraries, both of whom are also members of the Governing Board, and to report to the Governing Board. Following receipt of this directive, the Chair asked Barbara Stratton, CLM member and Senior Copyright Adviser to CILIP, to take the lead in preparing the requested report, which she did. After extensive consultation with CLM members and with the Chairs of Division 8 and the Public Libraries Section, the chair submitted the final report to the Governing Board on March 1, and it was approved at the GB meeting later that month. The report and a very informative background paper on PLR were subsequently posted on the IFLA CLM website, where they remain publicly accessible to any reader. The two documents combined cover 15 pages so I cannot begin to do them justice here. But let me summarize by saying that we decided from the beginning that the report should flow from IFLA's values, including universal and equitable access to information; from the IFLA/UNESCO Public Library Manifesto (1994), which declares that the "public library shall in principle be free of charge"; and from the IFLA/UNESCO Guidelines for Public Library Service Development (2001), which state that "funds for payment of public lending right should not be taken from libraries' funds for the purchase of materials...[but that] librarians should participate in the development of public lending right schemes to ensure they are not financed from library budgets."
It was in this context that the CLM report boldly affirms first that "IFLA does not favor the principles of 'lending right,' which can jeopardize free access to the services of publicly accessible libraries, which is the citizen's human right. IFLA endorses freedom of access to information, and will continue to resist all circumstances that could hamper this access."
However, CLM also felt that it was crucial in the report to acknowledge that a number of countries, particularly in Europe [e.g., all delegates to this Congress received a brochure about "The public lending right in Norway,' which was established in 1947], have already made PLR a statutory requirement, and to provide practical advice to librarians in countries where such a right exists or might be introduced about how to influence the design of such a scheme to ensure that the financial and administrative support for PLR does not come from library budgets. Again, limitations of time preclude my mentioning each recommendation within this section of the report, but I must call attention to the one relating explicitly to developing countries. The report states that "Lending right should be rejected in the greater public interest in situations where a country cannot afford to fund PLR without diverting resources earmarked to fund more fundamental public services. In particular, lending right should not be established in countries that are not considered high or middle income by the World Bank."
On such a complex issue where national laws govern and vary widely throughout the world, we realized that it would be impossible to produce a report that could completely satisfy everyone, but I am pleased that our final product boldly upholds IFLA's core values, builds on previous IFLA and UNESCO statements, and received consensus approval from the Governing Board and CLM, including the CLM member who introduced the PLR resolution in Buenos Aires. CLM will use this report as a basis for maintaining a "watching brief" throughout the world to ensure that our principles are not violated, and will provide information and support, to the extent our resources permit, to national associations in countries where these principles appear to be in jeopardy.
The right to read for print-disabled people
CLM is working closely with the Libraries for the Blind Section, with WIPO, and with the International Publishers Association to secure for print-disabled readers throughout the world broader access to library materials, including legislation within national copyright laws that will enable libraries to produce and borrow a vastly broader range of such materials than are now available. WIPO has worked with the World Blind Union to produce a "draft law" that we must encourage countries lacking such enabling legislation to adopt. This report is to alert you that the Chair of the Libraries for the Blind Section and I will soon be writing to IFLA's national library association members to explain these issues and seek your support for changes in national copyright laws needed to provide equitable access for print-disabled readers.
Access to Knowledge Treaty - "A2K"
Less than a year ago, President Raseroka and I were invited to Geneva to participate in a unique gathering of librarians, policy makers, Nobel-prize winning scientists, software developers, international aid and consumer organizations and other NGOs to debate the future of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). A declared intent of this gathering was to craft a Declaration on the Future of WIPO that would prod both the Member States and the WIPO Secretariat into concerted efforts to take a "more balanced and realistic view of the social benefits and costs of intellectual property rights as a tool...for supporting creative intellectual activity." An important theme of the Declaration was the inappropriateness of a "one size fits all" approach to intellectual property that often leads to "unjust and burdensome outcomes for countries that are struggling to meet the most basic needs of their citizens." But equally important was the theme that the development agenda for WIPO is not only an agenda for developing countries, but one also for developed countries. Since knowledge is a universal right and equitable access is an indispensable underpinning for all democratic societies, A2K is about North and South, not North v. South, and the Geneva Declaration called for WIPO's 182 Member States to adopt an A2K Treaty. The Geneva Declaration, of which IFLA was one of the first signatories, has now been endorsed by more than 700 institutions and individuals. It was launched at last fall's meeting of the WIPO General assembly, at which government delegates from Brazil and Argentina proposed the establishment of a "development agenda" for WIPO. In response WIPO scheduled a series of three meetings - in April, June and July 2005 - and invited Member States and accredited NGOs, including IFLA and eIFL, to begin developing that agenda. All of us are deeply indebted to Barbara Stratton and CILIP and to Teresa Hackett and eIFL for their relentless efforts at each of these Geneva meetings to ensure that the needs of libraries remain front and center in the debate about the WIPO development agenda. Their interventions at each of the sessions are posted on the CLM website, and I urge you to read them. I also urge you to familiarize yourselves with the "Library-related Principles for the International Development Agenda of WIPO," also posted on our site. These principles were drafted by the US library associations, under the leadership of CLM expert Robert Oakley, and have now been endorsed by IFLA, IALL and many other groups. The specific goals in this document were the subject of lively discussion among the large number of delegates to this Congress who attended the CLM program on Monday, a discussion we hope to continue online after this conference since it is critical that we be aware of the issues that are most critical for libraries in your country as we work in Geneva to secure A2K for all.
It was quite disappointing that after three meetings covering nine days, resistance from the US and Japan foreclosed the possibility of consensus either on substantive or procedural matters relating to the development agenda. But we will not, we must not, give up. IFLA will be present at a meeting of NGOs being quickly convened by WIPO in September to consider next steps. We will continue to keep IFLA members aware of our activities via the CLM website.
In closing, I want to mention briefly CLM's two major needs, which may seem obvious after this report. The first is the need for strong support of our efforts from associations and librarians at the national level. WIPO is driven entirely by official representatives from the Member States. IFLA and other NGOs are sometimes permitted to be present and speak, but not always; and we are never permitted to vote. Therefore it is critical that your representatives hear from you before they go forth to Geneva. To help us become more effective we need you, and we will shortly be writing to all IFLA national association members asking for names and email addresses of your copyright advisors and copyright committees so that we can develop a streamlined advocacy network. Second, CLM suffers from having no staff support and no funding from IFLA. All of the activities I have described above have been undertaken by our volunteers at their expense or the expense of their home organizations. We have received the strongest possible moral support from IFLA's leaders, and the Governing Board will be considering later this week a proposal in principle for securing stable staff support for the crucial efforts I have describe. As both the President and President-Elect have said, we have done a good job in recent months of opening doors that were previously closed to us; now we as an association must ensure that we are able to send through those doors effective advocates for libraries in all part of the IFLA community.
Colleagues, it is an honor to serve this association and its members. I thank you for the privilege, and for your continuing support of CLM's critical mission.
Last update: 5 October 2012