IFLA holds the position that the current system of copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries is not fit for the digital age. At the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) IFLA has been advocating in support of an updated framework that meets the needs of libraries in the 21st century. IFLA works with WIPO Member States to gain support for a binding international instrument on copyright limitations and exceptions to enable libraries to preserve their collections, support education and research, and lend materials. To demonstrate the change that is needed, and to support the SCCR’s text-based work, IFLA has produced a Treaty proposal to guide WIPO’s Member States in updating limitations and exceptions for libraries worldwide. Great efforts are also being undertaken by IFLA’s members: National Library Associations worldwide engage with their governments asking them to support libraries at WIPO.


To examine the issues of limitations and exceptions and what should be done for the benefit of libraries worldwide, in April 2009 IFLA and Electronic Information for Libraries initiative (EIFL) convened a workshop at the British Library comprising librarians, intellectual property specialists, the World Blind Union, and representatives of other NGO’s to develop a set of principles that should drive creation of an appropriate instrument to facilitate the mission of libraries throughout the world (see Statement of Principles on Copyright Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives).

At its World Library and Information Congress in Milan in 2009, the IFLA Governing Board approved the principles, and asked the Chair of IFLA’s Committee on Copyright and Other Legal Matters to appoint a working group to draft an instrument, based on those principles, for consideration by the Member States of WIPO. After wide consultation with librarians, representatives of Member States and other knowledgeable individuals, IFLA’s working group has developed the “Treaty Proposal on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives“.