[A2k] Copyright reform: libraries not proxies for commercial interests

Teresa Hackett teresa.hackett at eifl.net
Wed Apr 20 01:59:12 PDT 2016


Copyright reform: libraries not proxies for commercial interests
If libraries are for profit, it is for the profit of human development, say
major library groups in response to comments at the International
Publishers’ Congress 2016

EIFL has co-signed a letter in response to comments made by Hachette Livre
CEO, M. Arnaud Nourry, at the International Publishers' Congress that took
place in London from 9-12 April 2016 (comments reported in The Bookseller
and Publishers' Weekly

In a letter sent to the editors of the two journals on 13 April 2016,
international and European organizations representing libraries and library
consortia assert their independence and their proud tradition promoting the
public interest without profit or commercial gain. Libraries are not
proxies for the commercial or tech sectors, the letter says.

In the field of copyright, libraries consistently support a balanced
copyright system where everyone has access to information and creativity,
and authors are fairly rewarded for their work. Publishers benefit too, for
example, globally in 2014 libraries were set to spend 25.4 billion
USD purchasing content (source: Outsell report 2014 Library Market Size,
Share, Forecast, and Trends).

In Europe, libraries are seeking modest changes to copyright rules to
enable libraries, and other cultural heritage institutions, to undertake
their work effectively in the digital environment. We hope, by working
together with publishers, the European Commission and its member states,
that the best may indeed be yet to come.

Read the letter from international and European library organizations
in Publishers'
or below.

*Dear Sir,*

*It was a great shame that Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry chose to target
libraries at the International Publishers’ Congress this week, as reported
in The Bookseller
and Publishers Weekly
In particular, we, the library community, reject entirely the argument
that we are proxies for the commercial sector. If libraries are for profit,
it is for the profit of human development.*

*Libraries have a proud tradition of independence. We are there to protect
and promote the interests of our users – citizens, creators, students –
rather than shareholders.*

*Moreover, libraries are specifically designated worldwide as institutions
necessary for serving the global public interest for a non-commercial
purpose, as we have already stated many times at WIPO and elsewhere. We go
about our work for no direct or indirect economic gain. *

*Libraries support a balanced copyright system where everyone has access to
information and creativity, and authors are fairly rewarded. Authors
themselves regularly underline their own support for libraries as places to
research, raise awareness of their work, and build a reading culture. It
goes without saying that publishers benefit from the vibrant creative
economy that we nurture, as well as the billions spent by libraries every
year on their output.*

*Indeed, we have long argued that what holds libraries and their users back
in this regard is rather the tangled and opaque web of laws, contracts and
licenses that prevails today. Where exceptions and limitations exist, they
are restricted and often overridden by contract terms or other means. And
even when this does not happen, uneven application hinders access to
information across borders.*

*It is for that reason that we are calling for limited reforms which will
strengthen the legal base on which libraries operate, both within our local
communities and, increasingly, globally. Librarians are trained
professionals and careful in respecting the law. To fulfil their missions
at a national, European and international level, they need a core of basic
enforceable exceptions and limitations, suited to the digital age and the
opportunities this creates. This would hardly represent the ‘vast
exceptions’ Mr Nourry cites. *

*We look forward to working further in partnership with publishers, the
European Commission, WIPO and its member states to achieve this. If we do,
as Mr Nourry himself hopes, the best may well still be yet to come.*

*Yours faithfully,*

*Donna Scheeder, President, IFLA (International Federation of Library

*Jukka Relander, President, EBLIDA (European Bureau of Library, Information
and Documentation Associations) *

*Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen, President, LIBER (Association of European
Research Libraries)*

*Naomi Korn, Chair, LACA (Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance)*

*Rima Kupryte, Director, EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries)*

*Ilona Kish*, *Public Libraries 2020 Programme Director, Reading & Writing

*Further reading:*

Arnaud Nourry parle d'exceptions au copyright, les bibliothèques s'étouffent
in Actualitté,

Blog post Communia Association: Contrary to what publishers think,
Libraries serve the Public

Follow the EU copyright reform process here

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