Press Release by IFLA/CLM and eIFL

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and
Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL)

Are the UN’s richest members committed to access to knowledge for all?

International library organisations call for an end to deadlock in discussions for a Development Agenda for WIPO

IFLA World Library and Information Congress, Oslo 16th of August 2005

IFLA and eIFL welcome the broad agreement on the need for a
‘Development Agenda’ for WIPO following the third session of the
specially convened Inter-Sessional Intergovernmental Meeting (IIM) in
Geneva, July 20-22, 2005. Together with many public interest NGOs, IFLA
and eIFL supported proposals by the Group of Friends of Development submitted to the 2004 General Assemblies and elaborated upon during the IIMs

"We are deeply disappointed, however, that after nine days of
discussion not only did the delegates fail to agree on any of the
substantive issues, but due to resistance from the US and Japan a
consensus on how to handle the discussions in the future was rendered
impossible," says Mr. Winston Tabb, Chair of IFLA CLM.
"We share in the frustration of many government delegates from
developing countries that the IIMs are thus unable to make
recommendations and will instead leave it to the 2005 General
Assemblies to decide on the future of this important process," echoed
Ms. Rima Kupryte, Director

A key component of the Development Agenda proposals is a call for a
Treaty on Access to Knowledge. An ‘A2K’ treaty is important for
libraries since our business is to enable people to find and use
knowledge and information. This ability is essential to development and
relies on exceptions and limitations to copyright. In the last decade
international treaties, supranational directives from the European
Union, national legislation and the terms of some Free Trade Agreements
have created a trend towards the monopolisation and privatisation of
information by eroding the exceptions and limitations to copyright,
especially in the digital environment.

Fair access to information for all is essential to nurture education
and stimulate innovation. A treaty is necessary to redress the balance
and establish an international framework setting out the norms by which
copyright protects user rights while maintaining adequate protection
for rightsholders.

"This is not an issue just for developing countries, but one also
for developed countries since knowledge is a universal right, and equal
access is an indispensable underpinning for an inclusive, democratic
society," said Winston Tabb and Rima Kupryte today in a joint statement.

Further information:

Winston Tabb
Chair, IFLA Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM)
Dean of University Libraries and Sheridan Director
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218-2683, USA
Tel. +(1)(410)5168328
Fax +(1)(410)5165080

Rima Kupryte
Director, Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL)
c/o ADN Kronos
Piazza Mastai 9
00153 Rome, Italy
Tel: +(39)(06)5807216/17
Fax: +(39)(06)5807246

Notes for Editors

IFLA is an independent, international, non-governmental organisation
representing the interest of libraries, librarians and the users of
libraries worldwide. Founded in 1927, it now has members in over 150
countries, representing hundreds of thousand of library and information
staff. IFLA is accredited by a number of United Nations agencies,
including UNESCO and WIPO. CLM represents the voice of the
international library community in copyright concerns.

eIFL is an international
foundation which supports library consortia in transition and
developing countries to negotiate and advocate for the wide
availability of electronic information to education, research and
professional communities as well as governmental organisations and
civil society. This global network embraces millions of users in
Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.