Centre for Internet & Society

While the many publishers representatives took the floor to explain that there are truly no problems with limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives (and anyway according to them if there are problems that can be solved with licenses), libraries & archives as well as public interest groups make their case: the committee must continue its work on limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives and find solutions.

This blog entry was published on the website of Knowledge Ecology International on December 11, 2014.

Here are excerpts from some of the interventions:

Hasmik Galstyan, Yerevan, Armenia speaking for the Electronic Information for LIbraries (eIFL.net):

>> EIFL: I'm speaking on behalf of the electronic information for libraries and that works with libraries and library con sort Sha in more than 60 developing and transition economy countries. We thank the Secretariat for commissioning the updated study that provided a comprehensive overview in the IP law. We thank professor crews for his clear presentation.

The report contains positives and negatives from our Point of View. The positives include the fact that law makers are to some degree responding to the need for legal change and a small number of countries have over the last six years created new exceptions especially with regard to digital services. These changes are to be commended. On the other hand, it is discouraging that 18% of countries including five EIFL partner countries have new exceptions for libraries and over one-third located almost totally in the developing world still do not have an exception allowing libraries to make copies of their works for the users. The trend regarding digital library services doesn't look good. Even for states that introduce amendment 2008 digital is barred in 50% in some cases for preservation and it states with anti-circumvention protection while some have applied library exceptions as mentioned by professor crews half of the countries have provided no library exceptions. So while a small number of countries are moving ahead and reforming their copyright laws the digital divide is being perpetuated at a time when libraries everywhere are adopting new technologies and Developing Countries are rapidly moving to mobile. My question is how can the situation be addressed. How can WIPO as an UN agency with a commitment to work with Developing Countries to enhance their participation in the global innovation economy most effectively support countries to be at the forefront of digital developments. To ensure that our libraries that are working hard to support education and development are not operating with one hand tied behind our backs.

My second question is considering that between 2008 and 2014 only a handful of countries have been implemented made changes benefitting libraries and their users and imagining that the current rate of support for a change stays the same, how long do you think it will take before all WIPO Member States have exceptions good enough to support library activities in the Digital Age? And the last question, please. Libraries collections contain materials of unique cultural and historical significance to people in other countries to the national border changes shared languages and a host of other reasons. In addition collaboration among researchers today is international. Therefore libraries increasingly need to send and receive information across borders. In our examination of copyright laws how do they accommodate or not these activities? Thank you very much.

The libraries representatives were echoed by archives representatives. William Maher, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, representing the Society of America Archivists.

Thank you for producing a study that brings such clarity to the quite confusing maze of the laws that librarians and archivists must work with. Archives has been mentioned a lot over the past couple of days but I am only the second archivist to be addressing this issue at SCCR. Archivists know that the general populations does not understand what archives are and how and why we do what we do. However, it seems reasonable that those who draft copyright laws should understand that archives are fundamentally about the unpublished legacy of humankind. Yet, when looking at the 70 or so countries in the 2014 study, archives are seriously overlooked–Despite whatever minimal improvement for libraries, archives have been left out of 53% of the exceptions for preservation and 72 % of the exceptions for copying for research. Is this absence of provisions also reflected in the fact that the laws lack definitions of archives? Can this oversight be read as meaning that archives do not matter to the nations copyright system, or does it mean that copyright should not matter to archives?
>> KENNETH CREWS: Well, thank you very much. Yes, I think you have also heard me speak very strongly about the distinct interests of archives and maybe I should say even more important the distinct interests of our citizens in archives and in the works that they are -- the work that they are doing. And their ability to use these copyright provisions for the benefit of the country and of its citizens. I certainly can't emphasize that enough. So I -- I'm not going to read in to the lack of reference to archives. The kind of meaning that you are asking about. But instead I think we can certainly say that it makes you wonder if archives have been recognized by the drafters of many of these statutes and if in the case of following through on the example of the models influencing domestic law it really is have archives come to the attention of the individuals who have been responsible for developing some of the models. So I believe very strongly that the future statutes in individual countries and the drafting of different kinds of instruments or models that may come from WIPO or any other organization need to encompass archives. And the -- because the preservation and research access and other kinds of beneficial uses of archival material goes directly to the preservation of the culture and the history of our countries and our people. And it is vital that we be able to do that and keep archives at the table. And I thank you very much for being here.

Another stakeholder, Nehaa Chaudhari, Lawyer, Programme Officer at the Centre for Internet and Society questioned Dr. Crews on provisions regarding digital works:

CIS: Thank you Madame Chair. Thank you very much professor crews for your presentation yesterday and this comprehensive study on libraries and archives. Very timely and very important to us from the [...] access to knowledge and information most critically.

I have two questions. My first question: did you find in your examination that in terms of or on the question of limitations and exceptions did you find that there was an equal or equitable treatment of digital resources in comparison to resources available in more traditional formats? And if not, where do you think that are lever of change lies to ensure that fair use of fair dealing provisions are extended e equitably to the digital environment as well.

My second question is on the interoperability of limitations and exceptions. Given that copyright is a very national thing and as your study has also well established countries have a whole range of veridy veers approaches and practices on limitations and exceptions. But also given the fact that we live in an increasingly globalized world we need a system that is interoperable with respect to the transboundary movement of works with as little fiction as possible. Again both in the physical as well as in the digital environments. So what did your examination show of how interoperable or not the range of limitations and exceptions actually have. Those are my two questions. Thank you very much.

> KENNETH CREWS: Thank you very much. On the second question, I'm afraid I might mind myself only repeating some of the concepts that have already said about transborder and really about in the statutes anyway, a lack of recognition of transborder. And the transborder concept, so I will add this piece to the conversation, the transborder concept seldom if ever appears in these library exceptions to the extent that we are going to find it in copyright law or some other part of a national law it may very well be over in the import/export kind -- area of the law. But that also goes to the interoperability which think we have answered a few times just this sort -- the lack of exact harmonization and as others have reminded me I have said before that I may not be a fan of exact precise harmonization and indeed it may not be possible or even desirable. But some degree of harmonization can help with that interoperability. Interesting question, you do -- you did raise a new point about digital. We have talked several times in this conversation about use of digital technologies in the exercise of the rights of use under the exception. However what I think you were asking about is the ability to apply the exception to works that are digital in the first place that are what we call born digital and that's a very interesting question. The statutes do not address that. Sometimes you will see a statute that refers to -- that says it applies to all these different kinds of works but not computer software. That tells you somebody was thinking it shouldn't apply to software but somehow software is different and there are problems with that. We know that software has changed and been incorporated in to many different works. But we generally see a statute almost always see a statute that's about books or archival materials or some other kind of work without specifying the technology. So can it apply to an e-book in addition to the paper book? The statutes don't go there. They don't sort that out.

So in my common law tradition I look at that and see that as a question for interpretation. In
a civil code system I might look at it and see it a little bit more firmly for lack of a better word
about what the scope of that word book, for example, really means. Really good question. And it is one that the statutes have not picked up on. Thank you very much.

Finally, the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) representative David Hammerstein made the following political and philosophical intervention:

Thank you very much. Thank you Mr. Crews for your presentation. I would like to say a few general words. Internet and the digital obviously is global. Copyright laws are national. Economic power is global. Politics is national. This is very relevant to our discussion.

And other relevant factor is that copyright law and the idea of exceptions and limitations are very complicated. It is for small circles of specialists usually and when these things come out in to the open to the greater public opinion things change radically. I can only remind peep of this room for the debate on ACTA or the debate for SOPA and PIPA in the United States. When these issues come out of the closet things are seen in a very, very different light. The opinion of copyright specialist especially where I know in the European Union and totally different with the opinions of the general public. And the general public the vast majority are frustrated by copyright law because social reality that applies de facto and I am not talking about piracy, I am talking about de facto flexibilities and exceptions and limitations are very, very far from the legal reality of the copyright. The vast majority of Europeans would like to have a harmonized and mandatory exceptions and limitations that we are speaking about, whether it be more text and data mining, whether it be for libraries whether it be cross-border, whether it be preservation of cultural heritage, they would like that. Now the opinions of the often of political structures are captured by certain experts and very special groups that are interested in what they want. Especially the European Union is at a cross roads and we can see it politically because around a year ago the European Union launched a process called lnss for Europe where some of the ideas presented by some of the industry people were brought up memorandums of understanding and that the solution to exceptions and limitations for these issues could be found in voluntary measures between stakeholders. This was a failure. This was a terrible failure. We had letters many many many Nobel Prize winners who are asking tore a legal exceptions and limitations for text and data mining for other scientific research and we think that many orphan works legislation does not go far enough. Et cetera, et cetera, self generated user content. How can that Democratic debate take place and these cross roads can be made a positively by real decisions. And I think those real decisions have to be deal with the public dough minute yon, what is public knowledge and things about the commons, we are talking about the knowledge commons here need to have a democratic debate and need to have democratic management. Now this could be done by very delayed mediation to end up in the hands of a few copyright experts that are very close to very narrow industry that I think is defending outdated models or we could open a democratic debate where exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives for preservation for scientific limitation would be beyond borders. Even inside the European Union today it is almost hard to imagine there to be harmonization in the internal market. And the people making money prefer a fragmented market even though European site sents want a harmonized market for these things. My question is impossible question. I am sorry to put you on spot of how to open up the door, how to bring this issue out of the closet and how to involve millions of people who really want that change. Thank you very much