[A2k] SCCR/32 EIFL statement on cross-border uses

Teresa Hackett teresa.hackett at eifl.net
Thu May 12 13:48:57 PDT 2016


32nd Session: Geneva, 9 May – 13 May 2016
Agenda item 6: Limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives

Topic 6 Cross-border uses

I am speaking on behalf of Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL).

I will talk about cross-border document delivery i.e. requests by library
users for material not available in their home institution, or in any other
library in the country.

I will give two examples of requests denied due to copyright and licensing

The first example is from a university lecturer in Armenia who wanted two
chapters of a book on teaching using drama. The book was published in 1987,
is out of print and not available anywhere in Armenia. The closest library
with the book is 1,000km away. The request was denied for copyright reasons.

The second example is from a patron at a US university who needed two pages
from an early twentieth century literary journal found *only* at the
British Library in the UK. But the Library was not allowed to send the
pages to the US.

In both cases, the users completely failed to understand the reasons.

I should note here that in 2012 the British Library, one of the world’s
largest research libraries, ceased its overseas copyright-based document
service to protect the Library from claims of copyright infringement. The
service was replaced by a publisher-approved licensing scheme.

Data shows that the service, a lifeline for hard-to-find information for
the research community, has fallen off a cliff edge. The number of
satisfied requests fell by over 98% from 38,100 in 2011 to just 635 in
2015. The number of countries served fell from 59 to 26 during this time.

Librarians in the EIFL network, who benefit from low cost access from
publishers which is most appreciated, began to complain that they could no
longer get *other* articles their users wanted or they were too expensive,
for example, on article requested by a library in south-east Europe cost

The question is where are people going now for that information?

Some may be availing of initiatives by publishers to broaden access, such
as pay-per-view and other direct delivery options.

For many individuals, pricing is a barrier – a single pay-per-view article
in a scientific journal costs around $40. I invite you to check prices
online for yourselves.

And a publisher can license only the material for which they hold the
rights. What about all the other material in libraries for which no licence
is available? There must be a legal way to access this material.

A recent article in Science magazine on Sci-Hub, the world’s largest
unauthorized site for academic articles, reveals 28 million download
requests over a six month period from all regions of the world and covering
most scientific disciplines.

A publisher is quoted in the article as saying “It suggests an almost
complete failure to provide a path of access for these researchers”.

Exceptions, and libraries as an established access channel, can help
prevent illegal ways of sharing.

Of course it’s not the whole solution but it is, along with open access and
other models, an important safety valve to relieve the pressure on a
clearly pressured system.

An exception as proposed in document SCCR/29/4 for cross-border uses for
non-commercial purposes, made under an exception in national law, would
provide such a safety valve. Is this not commonsense?

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