IFLA Copyright Round-up for 2018

Jane and Chris with Stephen Wyber at CopyCamp

Thanks to Stephen Wyber, the Manager for Policy and Advocacy at IFLA for allowing us to publish his recent summary of the work that IFLA and the Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM) committee have been doing more broadly on copyright issues over the past year. We got to spend a day with Stephen at CopyCamp in October 2018 in Warsaw. We are also really looking forward to Stephen joining us next April at LILAC 2019 as part of a symposium considering the relationship between open access and information literacy (we’ll blog more about this in due course).

Stephen’s summary highlights the progress made in 2018. He shares insights into IFLA’s participation at WIPO, progress internationally to ratify the Marrakech Treaty and progress in a number of key areas including open access and copyright literacy. Stephen’s run down of the year is reproduced below:

World Intellectual Property Organisation: the IFLA Delegation, led by Winston Tabb, has engaged actively in both meetings of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), and IFLA also attended the General Assembly. After a year of discussion, we saw agreement on a set of action plans – the first thing the committee has been able to agree on for some time – which will lead to new studies, three regional meetings and a global conference on exceptions and limitations to copyright for libraries, archives and museums in 2019. These provide a major opportunity to unblock progress in Geneva by confirming the impetus towards a legal text, although will need to be carefully managed in order to avoid them also becoming a place to repeat the same old discussions.

In parallel, WIPO meetings have provided a great opportunity to meet with officials responsible for copyright from national governments, and update our own understanding of copyright reforms around the world. You can read more about IFLA’s activities at the May and November meetings of SCCR, as well as at the General Assembly. See also the series of quotes from Member States at the May and November meetings.

Marrakesh Treaty: 2018 has been a breakthrough year for Marrakesh, with 48 countries (including the EU as one country) having completed the necessary diplomatic processes to ratify or accede to the Treaty. This includes major economies such as the EU and Japan, with the US not far behind. This progress has only accentuated the need to think about how Marrakesh is implemented into domestic law, and then how it is turned into reality on the ground.

IFLA has therefore started to produce a Monitoring Report, looking at whether national laws have been changed, and how far they allow libraries to give access, and produced Getting Started, a guide aimed at librarians themselves to help them understand the new possibilities. The Guide, written in partnership with EIFL, WBU, CARL and the University of Toronto, is designed to be adapted to national circumstances – we welcome examples.

National Reforms: IFLA has been increasingly active in working with members to support national copyright reform efforts. In addition to the European Union (see our resource page), where the current compromise texts are quite positive on the library-specific elements (but still up in the air as regards safe harbour provisions), IFLA has been involved in South Africa (where the initial vote on the revised law has been positive), Argentina (where we have offered support on Marrakesh ratification), Colombia (where there has been some excellent mobilisation by local librarians through the #BibliotecariosAlSenado movement),Mexico, Australia and Canada (where we have made submissions on ongoing reforms), as well as organising a session on copyright reforms for libraries around the world at the Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest.

Public Lending Right: an Annex to IFLA’s 2016 Statement on Public Lending Right should be agreed shortly. Building on the existing statement, which underlines IFLA’s opposition in principle to PLR (and in particular to its introduction in developing countries or use of library funding to pay for it), this will offer support for libraries in countries where PLR is a fact of life, and it is rather a case of ensuring that it works in a way that is least disruptive for libraries, and most positive for authors. The annex will be released, with a short advocacy pack, in early 2019.

IFLA Statement on Copyright Literacy
IFLA Statement on Copyright Literacy

Copyright Literacy: Following a successful offsite meeting in Wroclaw, CLM prepared a statement on copyright literacy and copyright education, agreed at WLIC 2018. This has already received considerable interest from different organisations, underlining the value of mapping such efforts across the library field, and establishing where there are good practices to share or gaps to address. The Information Literacy section is closely involved in this work.

Open Access: we focused efforts on promoting open access in Intergovernmental Organisations (IGO), with research at the beginning of the year and a presentation at the Creative Commons summit showing how inconsistent (and incomplete) the licensing policies that IGOs use are. On the basis of this, we have drafted a statement, recently approved by the IFLA Governing Board, which will be published in the New Year and sent out to UN Member State delegations.

FLA was also active during Open Access week, publishing a series of blogs, and sessions at WLIC allowed for a new impetus for this work. In the new year, we will start to look again at the IFLA Position on Open Access (2011), and how IFLA can add most value in the space.  We have also submitted comments to a UNESCO consultation on a recommendation on Open Educational Resources, focusing on the importance of the work of libraries in curating such work, and the need for exceptions and limitations to education.

Collective Management: CLM has produced two pieces of research, one focusing on experiences of implementing Extended Collective Licensing around the world, and one on the coverage of collective management organisations (by country and by sector). These indicate that there are situations where (extended) collective licensing can work well, but this is far from everywhere, and relies on a number of conditions being in place. CLM has also contributed to two sets of comments (April, August) on a WIPO toolkit on good practices for collective management.

Finally, we have produced a series of briefs and other materials:

  • Get into WIPO – a guide on how to get involved in the discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organisation
  • Briefing on the WIPO Best Practice Toolkit on Collective Management
  • Briefing on the proposed WIPO Broadcasting Treaty
  • Infographics about the relevance of copyright for school and public libraries
  • An infographic about the issues in the European copyright reform
  • An infographic about fair use and fair dealing for libraries

Thanks to Stephen for this fantastic round-up of all the advocacy and education work that has been led by IFLA in 2018 and we look forward to working with the team further in 2019. 

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