Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives

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Copyright limitations and exceptions are fundamental for access to knowledge and thus for human and social development.

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 Outdated copyright laws increasingly prevent libraries and archives from performing their most basic functions, simply because resources are now digital.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. The Treaty Proposal on Copyright Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives 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.  

Last update: 30 September 2016

Latest News

Prochaine réunion sur le droit d'auteur à l'organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle : impliquez-vous !

Le droit d'auteur est un élément central dans le travail des bibliothèques, et c’est pourquoi l’IFLA est un défenseur actif de meilleures lois du droit d’auteur. Notre engagement auprès de l'Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI) en est un élément essentiel. Le comité du droit d'auteur de l'OMPI (le SCCR) se réunit deux fois par an et a la capacité de légiférer sur plusieurs aspects. Le sujet des exceptions et limitations au droit d'auteur en faveur des bibliothèques, archives et musées est à l'ordre du jour. La prochaine réunion est en approche : elle aura lieu du 26 au 30 novembre.

15 November 2018 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Advocacy, Copyright, Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives

Próxima reunión del comité de derechos de autor de la Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual: ¡participa!

El derecho de autor es un elemento central del trabajo de las bibliotecas, y esta es la razón por la que la IFLA es un defensor activo de mejores leyes de derecho de autor. Nuestro compromiso con la Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual (OMPI) es una parte clave de esto. El comité de derechos de autor de la OMPI (SCCR) se reúne dos veces al año y tiene capacidad para legislar en varios asuntos. El tema de las excepciones y limitaciones al derecho de autor para bibliotecas, archivos y museos está actualmente sobre la mesa para discusión. La próxima reunión se acerca: del 26 al 30 de noviembre.

15 November 2018 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Advocacy, Copyright, Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives

Next Copyright meeting at the World Intellectual Property Organisation: get involved!

Copyright is a core element of libraries’ work, and this is why IFLA is an active advocate for better copyright laws. Our engagement at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is a key part of this. WIPO’s copyright committee (SCCR) meets twice a year and has capacity to legislate on several matters. The topic of exceptions and limitations to copyright for libraries, archives and museums are on the table for discussion. The next meeting is getting closer: 26-30 November.

15 November 2018 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Access to knowledge, Advocacy, Copyright, Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries & Archives