27 May 2020

IFLA Signs on to ICOLC Statement on Resource Access during COVID-19, Shares Principles for Associations in Negotiations

IFLA has signed onto the Statement by the International Coalition of Library Consortia on the global COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on library services and resources.  To further support members, IFLA's Advisory Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters has produced principles for use in negotiation with rightholders.

Faced with the need to close their doors for the safety of users and staff alike, libraries around the world have relied heavily on the possibility to offer access to digital materials and services.

The energy and resourcefulness of the field has done a lot, but the best outcomes for users rely on being able to allow remote use of library collections.

While in some countries, copyright rules do allow libraries to find alternative ways to give access, this is not the case everywhere. Libraries therefore very much count on rightholders to take steps to ensure that access is not interrupted for users, that take account of the challenges many libraries are facing in carrying out normal administrative operations, and that allow for a sustainable relationship into the future.

In the light of this, IFLA is happy to sign up to the Statement produced in the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC), establishing a number of principles to which publishers are invited to adhere.

Many have done so already, in part or in full, as detailed on the ICOLC website. With it clear that the effects of the pandemic are likely to continue for many months into the future, there is a strong need for cooperation.

Furthermore, IFLA’s Advisory Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters has developed a set of principles for use by library associations in discussions with rightholders at the national level.

These reach beyond academic and research libraries, and can be applicable for all library types.

Recognising that some publishers and writers are also facing uncertainty in the crisis, it sets out a number of areas where actions can be taken which will allow libraries to maintain a comparable level of service to users as before the pandemic, using previously and legitimately acquired content. The principles draw heavily on existing good practice examples in order to underline what is possible.

We hope that they will be useful for IFLA’s members in their work.

You can view the IFLA CLM principles on our publications page. The ICOLC statement is available on the Coalition's website.

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