[A2k] Copyright rules OK? What EIFL librarians say

Teresa Hackett teresa.hackett at eifl.net
Thu Mar 27 05:29:20 PDT 2014


Copyright rules OK? What EIFL librarians say

Libraries in EIFL partner countries perform a vital role getting
reading and other materials into the hands of people who need
information and knowledge for education, research, health or leisure.
The seven point plan submitted by EIFL in response to the European
Commission's Public Consultation on the review of EU copyright rules
highlights some issues that libraries want to see addressed.

"Librarians want to do their work effectively, efficiently and of
course, legally," said Teresa Hackett, EIFL-IP Programme Manager. "But
sometimes, it seems as if the weight of the system is against this."

Here are some of the things librarians in EIFL-partner countries told
us for the European Commission consultation:


In Estonia, university librarians spoke of frustration in not being
able to provide a research student with excerpts from books that were
published almost a century ago, due to copyright restrictions. Read

Requests by public libraries to buy Estonian e-books, in support of a
policy to promote the Estonian language, are being refused. Read more.


In neighbouring Latvia, efforts to get agreement on best practices for
acquiring e-books are stalled, leading to fears that frustrated
readers will be driven away from literature in local languages, or
towards illegal file-sharing sites unless a legal framework for
e-lending is put in place. Read more.

While the state invests in preserving the national heritage of Latvia,
libraries cannot usually make the digital works publicly available. So
there is a strong sense of inequality between the interests of society
that has paid for the work to be preserved, and its availability for
the benefit of society. Read more.


Digitization and preservation is a costly process, often funded by the
public purse. In Poland, librarians have come to realize that the
duplication of costly digitization efforts by multiple institutions in
multiple countries is no longer feasible. In the near future,
librarians believe that they will need to share infrastructures for
digitization activities. But copyright law in Europe must enable the
adoption of these and other efficiency measures. Read more.


The National Library in Lithuania, tasked with promoting Lithuania's
cultural heritage in Europe, is prevented from contributing culturally
significant materials to Europeana, the European Digital Library
(co-funded by the European Commission). This is because copyright law
stands in the way, or because it proves impossible to ascertain the
copyright status of the work, and thereby to seek permission. Read

The Lithuanian Library for the Blind cannot provide special format
material for national minorities, such as books in Polish and Russian,
which are in demand among senior readers who constitute the greater
part of the readership. Read more.

South-eastern Europe and Malawi

An academic library in south-eastern Europe can no longer obtain
copies of articles for researchers that are not in its own collection
since the copyright-based service at the supply library in the UK was
replaced by a new publisher licensing arrangement. Some items are not
available at all, or are only available at commercial rates - up to
four-fold price increases - that are unaffordable for the library.

In addition, an array of inflexible and confusing rules regarding
supply and pick-up options for the requested items are problematic in
Malawi, where librarians need reasonable copyright and licensing rules
that work in the real world. Read more.

Read the EIFL seven point plan submitted to the European Commission
Public Consultation on the review of EU copyright rules that will help
to make copyright work for everyone.

Teresa Hackett
EIFL-IP Programme Manager

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