[A2k] Library statement at WIPO GA: agenda item 15 SCCR

Teresa Hackett teresa.hackett at eifl.net
Wed Sep 24 08:23:06 PDT 2014

Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO: 54th Series of Meetings

22-30 September 2014, Geneva, Switzerland



International NGO: International Federation of Library Associations and
Institutions (IFLA)

 [Mr Chairman / Madam Chair]

I speak for IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and
Institutions and EIFL, Electronic Information for Libraries, concerning the
SCCR’s text-based work on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and

While copyright protections are global and mandatory, exceptions for the
most part are optional and national. As a result, in some countries there
are no exceptions for libraries and archives. In others exceptions for core
library activities such as preservation and lending are absent. In many
cases, exceptions are not being updated for the digital environment, and
new issues such as Virtual Learning Environments or Text and Data Mining
are not being addressed, or are being taken away by contract. In a digital
world where information is increasingly borderless the immense disparity in
national exceptions and limitations for libraries, evidenced in the study
by Professor Crews, makes it virtually impossible to competently to fulfill
our role as intermediaries between rightsholders and users.

This year, librarians and archivists from five continents gave real-life
examples[i] to SCCR of problems they encounter, demonstrating a major
dysfunction in the international copyright system deriving from lack of
national and cross-border provisions. Claiming that all problems can be
solved at national level, is absurd. The problem needs an international

Libraries and archives hold unique materials of international importance
and have a global reach. The demand for information under a national
exception flows in both directions between countries – no country is immune
from needing information from elsewhere in support of education, research
and culture. People expect libraries and archives to provide information to
them irrespective of location; yet when exceptions stop at the border and
libraries cannot legally provide the material, people are denied access to

We are thus asking WIPO to set international minimum norms designed to
solve the real practical copyright problems that libraries and archives
face in providing information services. We are grateful to the many Member
States who support this position.

We therefore urge the General Assembly to renew its recommendations made in
2012 that SCCR continues text-based work towards a binding international
legal instrument, with the target to submit recommendations on limitations
and exceptions for libraries and archives to the General Assembly in 2016;
based on proposals by Member States contained in document SCCR/26/3 adopted
by SCCR.

Limitations and exceptions are the normal business of SCCR. As digital
technologies evolve, we urgently need a well-functioning international
copyright system that supports the legitimate interests all copyright

Thank you for your attention.


[i] http://www.eifl.net/copyright-exceptions-and-limitations

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