WIPO SCCR Update: LCA Offers Statement of Principles on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), made a statement on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives at the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights Eighteenth Session, Geneva, May 27th, 2009.

Mr. Chairman, the Library Copyright Alliance offers congratulations on your re-election and appreciates the opportunity to speak before this forum on the important issue of  limitations and exceptions.

Copyright law has supported the essential functions of libraries, but in many nations, copyright law has not been updated sufficiently to allow for adequate uses of digital information. The absence of effective provisions addressing access to digital information constrains libraries from performing functions that copyright law has previously facilitated. At a time of dramatic technological change, the role of copyright limitations and exceptions has become unacceptably unbalanced.

We respectfully ask that Member States utilize the Statement of Principles on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives, available on the table outside, when addressing gaps identified in national copyright laws. By doing so, Member States will be taking positive steps to promote the intellectual and creative life of their nations into the future.

The Library Copyright Alliance also supports the specific principles our library colleagues will mention in their interventions and asks you to consider the following:

  • Legal deposit laws and systems should be broadened to include works published in all formats and to allow for preservation of those works. It is an essential means for ensuring that the published heritage of a nation is acquired and preserved for all time. To address the fragile nature of digital works, legal deposit legislation should permit preservation of works regardless of format.
  • Libraries should be able to supply documents to the user directly or through an intermediary library irrespective of the format and the means of communication It should be permissible for works that have been lawfully acquired by a library or other educational institution to be made available in support of classroom teaching or distance education in a manner that does not unreasonably prejudice the rights holder.
  • An exception is needed to resolve the problem of orphan works, where the rights holder cannot be identified or located.
  • There should be a limitation on liability for libraries and library staff who act in good faith, believing or having reasonable grounds to believe, that they have acted in accordance with copyright law.

Thank you for your time.

LCA, Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL), and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) offered a statement of principles on copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives.

Statement of Principles on Copyright L&E (download PDF)
Statement of Principles on Copyright L&E (Open in Scribd)

The Library Copyright Alliance consists of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). The purpose of the LCA is to work toward a unified voice and common strategy for the library community in responding to and developing proposals to amend national and international copyright law and policy for the digital environment. The LCA’s mission is to foster global access and fair use of information for creativity, research, and education.

Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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