22 November 2012

IFLA-EIFL-CLA Statement on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives at SCCR 25

During the plenary discussion on the afternoon of Thursday 22nd November at the 25th meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in Geneva, the Chair of IFLA's Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM) Committee, Victoria Owen, made the following intervention on behalf of IFLA, Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) and the Canadian Library Association (CLA):

Thank you Madam Chairman. I am speaking on behalf of the International Federation of Library Associations, Electronic Information for Libraries, the Canadian Library Association.

We thank all Member States for their proposed texts and comments contained in document SCCR/23/8.  In particular, we acknowledge the added proposals from the distinguished delegation of India on each of the eleven topics. These substantive proposals, together with the extensive written comments, illustrate engagement by Member States in the issues facing libraries at the confluence of copyright and access, public policy and private licensing, and evolving digital technologies. Everyday libraries in all parts of the world provide information services to people for their work, study, research and leisure needs. [Their services enrich people’s lives and support important public policy goals including literacy, education, innovation, employment, and well-being.] Libraries require the ability to properly fulfil their mandate in the digital environment in order to meet the information needs of library users of tomorrow. We note with appreciation that document SCCR/23/8 includes topics essential to aiding this outcome such as digital preservation, and permitting the removal of digital locks for a non-infringing use.

The Committee agreed at its last meeting that SCCR/23/8 shall constitute the basis for future text-based work. In order to maintain progress and to achieve the target of submitting recommendations on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives to the General Assembly by SCCR/28 in 2014, we call on Member States to engage in text-based discussion, approaching each topic in a sequential manner according to the agreed structure. This approach will allow for a deeper analysis of each topic, use the limited time available to libraries and archives for substantive discussion, and keep the two-year timetable on track. We support the suggestion of the distinguished delegate of Brazil to separate the proposed text from the comments in order to facilitate text-based work. We also urge Member States to maintain the overall sequence as set out in the Conclusions of SCCR/24, i.e. limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities, then libraries and archives, followed by education and research institutions. We believe that SCCR/23/8 is a good basis for moving forward on libraries and archives, and an exercise to mix discussion with the different topics in SCCR/24/8Prov. would not be productive.

Finally, Madam Chairman, IFLA, EIFL, and CLA are highly conscious of the role of copyright protection in fostering creativity and are respectful of the rights of rightholders. Acquiring and managing copyrighted content is what libraries do everyday and they enjoy the highest of reputations for compliance with the law. Here we are asking for a clear framework that establishes a basic, minimum standard of limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives that is consistent with international law. It is a positive way to implement the Agreed Statement to Article 10 of the WCT, taking us forward into the 21st century. We do not seek harmonisation or a single solution because we recognise that nations have different needs and priorities. We remain ready to assist with any questions or concerns and look forward to substantive discussion and timely progress. Thank you for your attention.

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CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Advocacy, Switzerland, SCCR25, WIPO, Access to information

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