Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives at EU and WIPO Level

On 20 March, IFLA and C4C organised a breakfast debate to discuss whether the existing international and EU copyright framework strike the right balance between access to information, research and innovation, and the need to protect creators.


  1. Welcome | Mr Stuart Hamilton (IFLA)

  2. Mr Stuart Hamilton, Deputy Secretary General at the International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (IFLA), started the breakfast debate by setting the scene. IFLA is debating a Treaty for Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). He emphasized that such a Treaty would benefit the 66.000 public libraries and 4.500 academic and research libraries. Especially, seeing that these institutions spend €24 billion on content, of which €5.5 billion is spent in the EU. Although, the current EU copyright framework is not supportive for libraries. Currently, there is a skewed balance between safeguarding public interest v. the protection of copyright. Mr Hamilton encouraged the European Commission to send a library expert at the next WIPO meeting, just as our US counterparts already do. He concluded the EU needs to help libraries turn their visitors into 'consumers'.
  3. Opening Comments | Ms Amelia Andersdotter (MEP)

  4. Ms Amelia Andersdotter, Swedish Greens/EFA Member of the European Parliament, emphasised that the EU lacks a proper (digital) strategy to deal with the core values of the digital age. She also highlighted that in the EU, Internet innovators such as Alan Ellis - who was behind the OiNK website - are sometimes apprehended instead of applauded. This leads MEP Andersdotter to conclude that the current copyright framework is quite hostile for innovative EU entrepreneurs.
  5. EU Commission perspective | Ms Kerstin Jorna (EC)

  6. Ms Kerstin Jorna, Director of the Intellectual Property Directorate at the European Commission's Directorate-General Internal Services and Market (DG MARKT) started off her intervention by informing the participants about the state-of-play of the European Commission's (EC) recent public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules. The EC received more than 11.000 replies, from which about half are coming from individuals. On the last night of the consultation deadline alone the EC received 4.000 contributions. DG MARKT has set-up two task-forces, a first one to open all contributions - still 2.000 to go, and a second one to analyse all of them. This last task-force counts about 30 people. The next step for the EC is to publish these contributions.
  7. The public consultation is complemented with a whole string of (legal) studies. In the coming weeks, DG MARKT will publish the studies on text and data mining (TDM) and reproductions. More studies can be expected, amongst others on the economics of copyright, specific limitations and territoriality. All this, together with the outcomes of the Licences for Europe (L4E) process and the EC's Audiovisual Green Paper feed into a White Paper that's being prepared by the end of June. This document should help orientate the future debate on copyright, and be taken on by the European Commission and the European Parliament.
  8. On the subject of libraries and other cultural institutions, Ms Jorna acknowledges that these institutions have evolved and need a copyright framework fit for purpose. The current legal framework adheres to their special needs, but the open-ended nature of the exceptions has led Member States to use them in various degrees.

    For example, the exception on preservation is quite narrow and excludes format shifting in many Member States. There is also the exception for consultation on dedicated terminals, which has not been implemented by 11 Member States, and the question should be raised if it is still pertinent this day and age. There is also the question of the public lending exception, which does not take into account e-lending.

    Ms Jorna stressed that the current process is not about quick fixes or finding the silver bullet. The EC is careful about solving one issue without creating another at the same time.
  9. Regarding the discussions at the WIPO level, Ms Jorna emphasized that the EC's priority is to first get the process right at 'home'.
  10. Ms Jorna also informed the participants of the breakfast that the Council of the EU decided on 19 March to sign the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled.
  11. Why libraries & archives seek an international copyright treaty @ WIPO | Ms Ellen Broad (IFLA)

  12. Ms Ellen Broad, Manager Digital Projects & Policy at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), explained that the international focus is on enforcement and not on limitations and exceptions (L&E). In 2010 the WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright & Related Rights (SCCR) started to work on L&E. Libraries are facing  an increasing inability to provide their services due to a shift to licences in the digital environment. Cross-border activities are becoming increasingly more difficult in the digital age, instead of easier. Digital preservation projects, for which shared infrastructure between institutions could be cost-beneficial, have the potential of infringing copyright. Several works of the Republic of Congo are stored in the Paris Library, but due to copyright and the lack of international L&E, Congolose citizens cannot request access these works. There is a need to flatten inequalities in access to knowledge in the EU and across border, to facilitate this new L&D need to be developed with this goal in mind.
  13. in 2012, more than 41,000 farmers filed online applications for agricultural subsidies at public libraries, resulting in more than €45.7 million in subsidies from the Ministry of Agriculture.
  14. Challenges for libraries in the EU: EBLIDA’s objectives | Mr Vincent Bonnet (EBLIDA)