Canadian Library Association statement on TPMs

Ms Margaret Ann Wilkinson, speaking on behalf of the Canadian Library Association:

On behalf of the Canadian Library Association, the national voice in copyright matters for Canada’s diverse library community, I am grateful to the Chair for this opportunity to speak on Topic 9. The Canadian Library Association was proud, in 2012, to be part of the Canadian community welcoming the world to the UNESCO Vancouver Conference. Canadian Library Association was encouraged by UNESCO’s recognition of a need to “secure an international legal framework of copyright exceptions and limitations to ensure preservation of and access to cultural heritage in digital format, and acquisition of and access to that heritage in a culturally appropriate manner.”

The Canadian experience with Technological Protection Measures demonstrates the need for such a framework.  While recent Canada’s libraries have been appreciative of the environment of users’ rights in copyright which have been created in Canada through Parliament and our Supreme Court, nonetheless, it must be recognized since 2012 that Canadian libraries’ abilities to meet the needs of our users have been compromised through the recent introduction into Canadian law of legal protection for Technological Protection Measures and Digital Rights Management.

These statutory protections for the many different types of technologies, used to control access to content and to prevent users from copying content, do not respect the legislated copyright exceptions for library users generally and for our non-profit owned libraries, archives and museums in particular. Rights owners are now now able to overreach their legitimate copyright limits in the Canadian market by installing Technological Protection Measures. Because a Technological Protection Measure has been installed by a rights owner, a Canadian library or archive’s otherwise statutorily protected abilities to use and preserve the underlying works become inoperable.

Canada’s story is not unique, and, indeed, on this topic, the Canadian Library Association speaks for all the library and archival organizations represented in this room:  an international treaty with a provision declaring states must legislate such that libraries and archives can circumvent Technological Protection Measures in order to exercise their statutory limitations and exceptions to the rights of the rights holders will restore balance. Such a treaty will allow libraries and archives, including Canadian libraries and archives, to serve their important public interest function.

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