[A2k] UK statement @ SCCR 23 on preservation for libraries and archives

Thirukumaran Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Nov 22 08:17:43 PST 2011

This is taken from the WIPO live-stream.


The UK would like to thank you for the opportunity to intervene on this important issue of preservation for Libraries and Archives 

UK believes exceptions and limitations are an integral part to a system that benefits creators and users and supports cultural and educational enrichment and economic growth. 

The copyright framework permits member states to provide exceptions that benefit ranges of groups. To date the UK has not chosen not to make use of all exceptions permitted. For example, there is no exception in UK law for the one outlined by my Austrian colleague this morning with regard to the making available of works which have been preserved in libraries on dedicated terminals. 

A recent review of intellectual property policy in the UK, the Hargreaves review, recognizes the important role exceptions and limitation versus in providing balance and flexibility in the copyright system, The Hargreaves review noted copyright can act as a barrier to economic and social innovation and growth and recommended that the UK should mod sder nice the current exceptions to assure copyright does not unduly restrict useful activity by third parties. UK government has broadly accepted these recommendation and will consult on these new flex abilities and EU law to provide more flexible and more modern system of exceptions without undermining incentives to creators. 

Looking at the issue of preservation, the UK has long rationed the important role libraries and archives play in preserving and disseminating knowledge, culture and heritage. The British Library and the British film institute are world-renowned for the collections that they have and we recognize the problems they currently have in preserving the information and works they have under the current system. 

As I have already set out the Hargreaves review suggested existing exceptions should be expanded and modernized to reflect development in technologies, mirroring comments by the US and we are currently considering how exceptions could be modernized since they meet the needs in the digital age. For example, our current preservation exception allows format shifting for the purpose of preservation with the exception only applies to literary dramatic and musical so it does not include film or sound recordings and only enables one copy to be made and there is some lack of clarity over the format shifting aspect for the purpose of preservation, although the law seems to permit it for this purpose. 

In line with the recommendation from the Hargreaves review, we would be consulting all interested parties on whether we should introduce new and update and widen existing exceptions including those for preservation. Looking at the text that are before us today, the key principles from our perspective are there is the issue clearly of the texts the language whether it should be may, shall or should in respect of each of these. 

On respect of the preservation one, we note some of the texts also cover other usage and we wonder whether the usage is such as lending should be dealt with under the other headings and so the discussion should be on the ability of Libraries and archives to preserve the work. 

I would agree with my colleague from Senegal it's important we look at definitions as a pointed out in the UK the work is defined narrowly with respect to preservation and we would be looking at whether that should be expanded so it's important to look at the definition of work and also the  definition of who may enjoy these privileges and again looking at the American colleagues' suggestions we may well look at whether or not museums should also be added to the list of libraries and archives so they also can preserve the cultural goods they have. The other important area to for the UK is limitations on the use of the exception earned the current UK law a library or archive may only make use if it is not probing ti call to obtain a copy from the rights holder. Finally, to conclude my comments, given that we are needing now to update our exceptions we could call upon everyone to where possible future-proof them and make them technology and format neutral so there's no need to return to them when new developments occur. 

Thank you, Chair." 


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)

thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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