Canberra, Thursday 1 December, 2016: Electronic Information for Libaries (EIFL) has issued a booklet of statements made by the international library and archive community which present extensive evidence of information denied when copyright exceptions stop at the border, or when licensing fails.
The statements were made in support of an international treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) – the main body that sets international copyright law – to solve real practical problems that libraries and archives face in providing information services to people across borders.
The statements were made at sessions of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) in April 2014, June 2014 and May 2016.
The Australian Library and Information Association provided a statement:
'It’s a long way from Australia to this room in WIPO. But Australian libraries do not exist just in our small corner of the world. We have known for a long time that Australian libraries face challenges, especially in cross-border projects, so in preparation for this SCCR, we surveyed a cross-section of our libraries to get some hard evidence of the scale of the problem. Of the 15 libraries and two consortia surveyed, every single library participated in cross-border collaborations. Every single library participated in document supply/interlibrary loan, and in just those 15 libraries they dealt with 77 countries, requesting and supplying content. Unfortunately, a majority of those libraries surveyed had also had requests from overseas institutions refused for copyright reasons, even though those requests were made in accordance with Australian copyright law, and even though for some requests the material was not available from any other source. As a legacy of our colonial heritage, many documents relating to Australia, our governance and heritage reside overseas, especially in the UK. To this day even our National Library has been unable to digitise or get access to digitised copies of some microfilm of official documents relating to Australia and the Pacific that are in archives and offices in the UK.'
ALIA statement delivered to the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) 27 April 2014
In the booklet, there are also statements from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), EIFL, the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), the German Library Association (DBV), the International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the Karisma Foundation, LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries), the Scottish Council on Archives (SCA), the Society of American Archivists (SAA).