Janice Pilch, ALA OITP International Copyright Advocate and LCA representative, voiced library concerns at the WIPO General Assembly meeting currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland. She said that immediate action is needed in order to preserve creative works, and described the unique position that libraries occupy in preserving copyrighted content. Pilch said,
“For all of the attention devoted to copyright protection of digital works, many works themselves are disappearing before our eyes, resulting in loss of cultural heritage and the historical record. It is critically important that requisite flexibilities be introduced in national laws to enable digital preservation and access to the very works being protected by copyright today.”
In addition, Pilch mentioned the delicate balance that needs to be struck between respecting traditional knowledge and cultural expression and acknowledging the longstanding role that libraries play in providing uninhibited access to information. She said,
“While librarians value openness and the ability to meet their mission to document and preserve cultural heritage, we also recognize that existing legal systems may not be appropriate or workable for all forms of cultural expression. We encourage a solution appropriate to the fundamental nature of traditional knowledge and cultural expression that also respects the essential need for access to information.”
Read the full statement.