[A2k] EIFL statement at SCCR/21

Teresa Hackett (eIFL) teresa.hackett at eifl.net
Thu Nov 11 03:50:44 PST 2010

21st Session: Geneva, 8-12 November 2010

EIFL: Electronic Information for Libraries

Agenda item 7: Limitations and exceptions

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am speaking on behalf of Electronic
Information for Libraries, an NGO that works with libraries in 48
developing and transition countries.

We are grateful to the Committee for the attention given to the issue of 
exceptions and limitations, and appreciate the consideration by many
delegations to libraries and archives in their opening statements.

We were deeply disappointed that no agreement was reached at SCCR/20 on
the way forward. We urge the Committee to agree a work plan that
prioritises a solution for VIPs, and progresses  library and archive issues.

 From my experience working as a university librarian in Zimbabwe, I
will give two examples of challenges faced by libraries in Africa in
their endeavour to get access to knowledge.

The first challenge is about the relationship between contracts and
exceptions, a matter that was raised yesterday during the discussion.
Students and academics in Africa are using electronic resources, such as 
scientific and technical journals, made available through libraries.
Contract terms that govern access and use of the e-resources often
undermine copyright exceptions and this limits the uses of the material
which would otherwise have been allowed in national law. It is both
difficult and costly to re-negotiate these terms, a needless waste of
scarce resources. We believe an international solution can be found in
copyright law since precedents for safeguarding exceptions in contracts
already exist in the European copyright acquis, namely the Directives on 
computer programs (Art 9) and on databases (Art 15).

The second challenge I raise today is that libraries and archives are
responsible for the preservation of our cultural heritage. Because there 
are no international norms for copying for preservation, libraries and 
archives in more than half the world’s countries, including Africa, lack 
legal certainty with respect to digital preservation activity. It is 
imperative that we can preserve Africa’s rich and diverse culture 
including its unique written and oral histories. Otherwise we risk 
losing Africa’s heritage from the memory of the world.

The issues I have described are important. At the same time, the book
famine continues for millions of blind and visually impaired people.
EIFL reiterates its support for a work plan that enables the VIP treaty
to move ahead without delay, and that allows for a phased introduction
of other issues raised by the African Group and other delegations, each
on its own merit and state of readiness.

We thank all the delegations that have shown a commitment to libraries,
and we look forward to continue working with you.

Kathy Matsika <kmatsika AT nust.ac.zw>
Teresa Hackett <teresa.hacketT AT eifl.net>

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