13 December 2013

SCCR26 to start next week in Geneva

Next week, IFLA will be present at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland, to advocate for an international framework supporting copyright exceptions for libraries and archives.

The 26th Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright & Related Rights (SCCR) of WIPO will take place from 16 – 20 December 2013. Alongside IFLA, libraries and archives around the world will be represented by EIFL, the Scottish Council on Archives (SCA), the Society of American Archivists (SAA), Karisma Foundation (Colombia), International Council of Archives (ICA) and the Canadian Library Association.

Why is IFLA advocating for copyright reform at WIPO?

Copyright laws are meant to balance the public interest in accessing information with the rights of authors, artists, and publishers. In some countries, copyright laws include provisions so libraries and archives can provide public access to the world’s knowledge—but in many countries, these exceptions apply only to resources that exist in traditional formats. Outdated copyright laws increasingly prevent libraries and archives from performing their most basic functions, simply because resources are now digital. In a number of countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, there are no exceptions safeguarding the services of libraries and archives at all.

As rules in favor of copyright holders have increased through binding global treaties, rules for libraries and archives that enable access to information have stayed frozen. The result is a broken copyright system that:

  • Deepens inequalities in public knowledge and skills
  • Creates permanent holes in the historical record
  • Prevents information created today from being available for future generations

IFLA believes that international action is needed to ensure essential library and archive functions continue to be preserved in copyright laws.

What would an international framework look like?

IFLA is seeking an international framework that will facilitate library lending, inter library loan and document supply in digital and print forms; enable use of orphan works; ensure the ability to acquire eBooks from publishers; protect library exceptions from override by contract; among other important library activities. You can view the Treaty Proposal on Copyright Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives here. This proposal was created by library and archive experts to guide Member States at the SCCR on model copyright provisions and needs to support the activities of these sectors.

What stage are the negotiations at?

Following the successful conclusion of a treaty to ensure access to works for visually impaired people (the Marrakesh Treaty) in June 2013, copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives are high on the SCCR agenda. This is an important opportunity to establish the concerns of libraries and archives, and build momentum to advance SCCR discussions towards an international instrument. 

During the SCCR discussions, IFLA will be organizing a seminar (side event) with prominent legal experts, country representatives and library and archive representatives to make the case for copyright needs and opportunities for libraries and archives. This event will take place over lunch on Thursday 19 December on site at WIPO.

To find out more:

Visit our resource and information pages here

Contact Ellen Broad, Manager, Digital Policy & Projects, IFLA, with questions.

Follow the live stream of SCCR discussions online. You can also follow the live stream (password: sccr26).

Advocacy, Copyright, Switzerland, SCCR

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