10 September 2018

Better Laws, Better Practices: IFLA Active for Libraries on Copyright

Following the launch of a guide to implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty and a statement on copyright literacy at the World Library and Information Congress, IFLA has continued to make the case for copyright that works for libraries. In the last two weeks, the focus has been on the operation of collective rights management and the EU’s copyright reforms.

Getting Collective Rights Management Right

IFLA’s work on copyright involves advocacy at both the international and regional/national levels. We argue that libraries need the right laws and practices, everywhere, in order to do their jobs.

At the international level, IFLA is closely engaged in the work of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). As well as providing a forum to discuss copyright law, WIPO has an important role in improving the operation of copyright on the ground.

In order to support this, the Organisation is producing a best practice toolkit setting out rules and codes of conduct for the work of collective rights management organisations.

These bodies collect money when works – books, songs, films – are used, and pay them to creators. They can play a very useful role in simplifying the operation of copyright, not least for libraries. However, for the sake of libraries, users and creators, they need to be well-managed.

Working with EIFL and the International Council on Archives, IFLA has therefore submitted comments to WIPO on the second draft of this guide. This follows a response to the first public draft earlier this year.

These comments underline the need to respect limitations and exceptions to copyright as well as openly licensed works, as well as ensure that libraries are fully engaged in licence discussions.

A new version of the toolkit will be available in the coming months.

Crucial Decisions in Europe

As part of its efforts to support its members in their own advocacy, IFLA has played an active role in the ongoing European copyright reform.

This reform creates both opportunities and risks for libraries. At best, it will offer clarity to libraries that they can continue to support research, education and preservation in a digital age, as well as giving access to works which cannot be bought on the market.

At worst, it could lead to unnecessary complexity and restrictions on library activities, and do major damage to the open access and open education movements.

IFLA has therefore submitted voting recommendations to all Members of the European Parliament, and has invited libraries across Europe to echo these points to their own representatives. In this, we have been lucky to work with a strong coalition of organisations representing libraries, universities and research organisations, notably EBLIDA, LIBER, EUA, Science Europe, SPARC Europe, and EIFL.

Read more about the position taken by IFLA in our previous news story, and contact us if you want to get involved.

CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Copyright, Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives, WIPO

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