Monthly Archives: April 2018

Sound not Silence: Libraries and International Jazz Day 2018

At IFLA Headquarters, we spend a lot of time focused on what is going on in Geneva. With the World Intellectual Property Organisation, a number of other major UN institutions, and the library which hosted IFLA’s first Headquarters, there is a lot to do there. But today – International Jazz Day – is an opportunity to look further round the lake, to Lausanne, which hosts the world’s biggest jazz library, the Montreux Jazz Archives.


Nat King Cole, Gottleib Collection, Library of Congress

Nat King Cole, Gottleib Collection, Library of Congress CC0 (

The Spontaneous and the Systematic: Archiving and Jazz


The centre in Lausanne  hosts an exciting collection of recordings – both sound and video, as well as photos, texts and books from the Montreux festival since its creation in 1963. The collection is accessible in particular through the Montreux Jazz Heritage Lab, which offers a variety of innovative ways of giving access to the materials held.


It exists thanks to the vision of its founder – Claude Nobs – who meticulously preserved recordings and documentation for the future. The collection was inscribed into the Memory of the World Register in 2013, as an example of a set of materials which offer a significant insight into human history.


Thanks to the centre in Lausanne, the public can now experience these works, while researchers can study them and bring out their uniqueness. By bringing more people into contact with the music – and inspiring new creations – the library, like all others, stimulates both demand for, and supply of, jazz.

Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Max Roach - Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress CC0

Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Miles Davis, Duke Jordan, Max Roach – Gottlieb Collection, Library of Congress CC0 (

Challenges Faced


Jazz – and indeed audio-visual works in general – is not normally associated with libraries. But in their mission to capture what it is that shapes our societies for the benefit of the future, jazz is as important a subject of library collections as anything. The nature of so much jazz – built on borrowing, developing and improvising on existing works – is not so far from what other creators do with works they can access through libraries.


This is not to say that there are not specific challenges involved.


Recording technologies have changed dramatically over the past century, with a serious risk of formats becoming outdated. Moreover, early works are often on highly fragile materials, at imminent threat of disintegration. While many recordings have enjoyed sufficient commercial success to be digitised, remastered and re-issued, this will not be the case for all. It will also not be the case for the programmes, notes and short pieces of film that offer vital context and which may mean so much for aficionados. Preserving the history of jazz requires laws that allow for copying and changing the format of works.


Jazz is also cross-border, with the idea born in New Orleans taking root around the world, witness the importance of Switzerland in this piece. Libraries around the world hold jazz collections, often about the same artist. Developing knowledge and giving access to those who cannot afford to visit requires copyright rules that enable cross-border sharing, and in particular allows libraries to provide access to works which are not in commerce.


Finally, a jazz recording can contain a number of rights – for scoring and arrangements (where appropriate), for performance, and potentially for producers also. Current discussions in Geneva focus on the idea of a Treaty which risks giving broadcasters rights over materials. Some are calling for these rights to reapply each time a recording is rebroadcast. It is clear that musicians and those who make a real contribution to their work should have the possibility to earn a living from commercial uses of works, but the complexity created by an additional layer of rights will not help.



Clearly there are many other issues, not least linked to ensuring that there is adequate funding and staffing for libraries and other institutions taking on the challenge of preserving and giving access to jazz for current and future generations. IFLA’s Audiovisual and Multimedia Section leads on IFLA’s work in the area – check out their web pages for more!

IFLA at the Second meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development – Days 3, 4 and 5 (Advocacy at the Forum, Side event and Civil Society Declaration)

IFLA Delegation at the ForumAfter taking active part in two days of Civil Society meetings on 16-17 April at the Second meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, IFLA’s delegation in Santiago, Chile, continued its advocacy efforts to get libraries and access to information into the Agenda.

18 April started bright and early, securing a seat in the Civil Society area to attend the official opening of the Forum by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) (read the speech and watch the video).

During her welcome address, she stressed:

“It is essential that the civil society is actively involved in the processes that contribute to decision-making, planning and implementation of policies and programmes that promote sustainable development in its three dimensions and at all levels, and that appropriates it to ensure it permeates widely in all social sectors, and everywhere.

This is even more relevant in the current political context, and the changes in the governments that the region is going through. Civil society must be guarantor of continuity in the process of implementing the 2030 Agenda and that this roadmap is a substantial part of the development agendas of the new governments of the region.”

“Let’s continue creating together the conditions for civil society to continue articulating its modalities of participation, dialogue and collaboration with national and regional mechanisms such as the Forum for monitoring and progress review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and that, in this way, we generate renewed and solid partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and their respective targets.”

She then continued by adding:

“Actually, the 2030 Agenda will only be achieved if all the actors are sitting around the table and that’s why we wanted the present Forum to have a multi-actor characteristic.”

The address was followed by a message pronounced by Norma Munguía, Director General for Global Affairs, on behalf of Ambassador Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs of Mexico and Chair of the Forum (read the speech).

In her message, Norma Munguía stated:

We must encourage the use of technology and innovation in improving the living conditions of our societies, while facilitating access to information and promoting the mobilization of public and private resources.

Later, Alicia Bárcena gave an overview of the key points (download presentation) of the Second annual report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean launched during the  Forum.

While part of IFLA delegation was still working on drafting the Civil Society Declaration, the rest of IFLA delegates attended the peer learning sessions in the afternoon. This helped to find the right moment to approach Alicia Bárcena to bring the message of libraries.

Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)Adriana Cybele Ferrari (FEBAB President, Brazil and IFLA IAP participant) approached ECLAC’s Executive Secretary and delivered a copy of the Development and Access to Information (DA2I) report, informing her that the library community is present at the Forum advocating for libraries and access to information. She also took the opportunity to mention the side event at the ECLAC Library on 19 April, and the launch of the “Santiago Declaration: Access to information to achieve sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean” during this event, which was enthusiastically encouraged by Mrs. Bárcena.

IFLA ECLAC Side Event19 April was an extremely successful day for our IFLA delegation, with two main highlights: the side event hosted by ECLAC’s Hernán Santa Cruz Library in partnership with IFLA: “The importance of access to information to achieve sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the reading of the Civil Society Declaration during the session “Dialogues on multi-stakeholder contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, including access to information and culture. Learn more details of these two key milestones by reading our news piece and watching the recording of the side event.Reading of the Civil Society Declaration

At the end of this day, Jonathan Hernández Pérez (CNB President, Mexico and Associate of IFLA’s ILP) had the opportunity to meet Miguel Ruiz Cabañas, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs of Mexico. Jonathan took this chance to introduce himself, IFLA and the CNB, present the work of libraries supporting development in Mexico, and offered the support of the library community for the preparations of Mexico’s next Voluntary National Review (VNR), providing clear examples of libraries’ contributions to development.

On 20 April, the last day of the Forum, IFLA delegates attended several sessions, including “Special statement on the importance of the regional dimension in the 2018 and 2019 meetings of the high-level political forum on sustainable development” and the side events: “Engaging scientists in the Latin American and Caribbean region to support the implementation of the SDGs” and “Recognizing the whole-of-society approach to the SDGs through integration of volunteerism data in VNRs”.

A quieter day at the Forum, allowed for pop-up advocacy action by both of our delegates Adriana Cybele Ferrari and Jonathan Hernández Pérez.

Jonathan approached Adolfo Ayuso-Audry, General Director of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Office of the President of Mexico, at the end of a side event to introduce the work of libraries in development, and ask for involvement in the Mexican VNR Commission. Minister Ayuso-Audry asked for his contact information and requested a brief to learn more about how libraries support the SDGs.

Adriana found her chance when she bumped into Enrique Villa da Costa Ferreira, National Secretary for Social Coordination of the Government Secretariat of the Office of the President of Brazil, and took the opportunity to introduce herself, present the work of libraries in Brazil, and ask to be included in the sectoral committees that work in the monitoring and implementation of the Agenda at the national level. Secretary Villa da Costa Ferreira provided guidance on how to get involved and Adriana promised to follow up.

Would you like to learn more about the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development – 2018?

Watch the recording of our side event with ECLAC’s Library in YouTube, find out more about IFLA’s work on libraries and development and the Development and Access to Information (DA2I) report.

*Photos by Sueli Mara Soares Pinto Ferreira, Lucia Abello and IFLA.

Las bibliotecas en las reformas de derechos de autor: el ejemplo del Ecuador

English version follows

Con la colaboración del Instituto Ecuatoriano de la Propiedad Intelectual

El acceso a la información es un claro activo para el desarrollo social y económico. Tal y como subraya el informe “Desarrollo y Acceso a la Información”, “el acceso a la información no es un fin en sí mismo sino un factor que impulsa el progreso en todos los ámbitos. Este empodera a las personas y comunidades, estableciendo las bases para la igualdad, sostenibilidad y prosperidad. Proporciona una clara ilustración del enfoque de desarrollo holístico y basado en derechos adoptado en la Agenda 2030”.

Las bibliotecas son fundamentales en este proceso, y con ellas lo son las políticas en materia de derechos de autor. Un marco legislativo equilibrado favorece el acceso y uso a la información, la creatividad y la innovación, y así el desarrollo. Por lo contrario, regímenes estrictos dejan poco margen de maniobra y presentan dificultades de adaptación a los cambios en la era digital. En el estudioThe User Rights Database: Measuring th eImpact of copyright Balance”, Sean Flynnn y Michael Palmedo presentan pruebas de los beneficios generados por regímenes equitativos de derechos de autor.

Es por ello que la IFLA apoya políticas gubernamentales que sigan esta línea, y trabaja alrededor del mundo con bibliotecarios para promover y defender cambios adecuados para el sector. Algunos ejemplos son Sudáfrica, la Unión Europea y Colombia. El objetivo es provocar el cambio allí donde no está sucediendo, para de este modo garantizar unos estándares mínimos. Debido a ello, se están coordinando esfuerzos a nivel internacional en la Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual (OMPI) para así promover la colaboración transfronteriza.[1]

Como buen ejemplo, deseamos referirnos a los cambios que hubo en el Ecuador recientemente. Se trata del Código Orgánico de la Economía Social De Los Conocimientos, Creatividad e Innovación[2], promulgado en diciembre de 2016, que incorporó reformas sustanciales en la regulación de los derechos intelectuales en el Ecuador. Promueve un ejercicio equilibrado de la propiedad intelectual garantizando plenamente los derechos de los titulares y creadores, pero sin desconocer y salvaguardar el acceso a la información, a la cultura y los conocimientos.

Respecto a las obras depositadas en bibliotecas, archivos o museos, el artículo 212, numeral 9, facilita la ejecución de los siguientes actos:

  1. La reproducción individual de una obra cuando el ejemplar se encuentre en la colección de la biblioteca, museo o archivo siempre que se realice con los siguientes fines: a) preservar el ejemplar y sustituirlo en caso de extravío, destrucción o inutilización; b) entregar el ejemplar reproducido a otra biblioteca o archivo en razón de préstamo para los usuarios; y, c) sustituir en las colecciones permanentes un ejemplar que se haya extraviado, destruido o inutilizado.
  2. La reproducción de fragmentos de obras a solicitud de los usuarios exclusivamente para uso personal.
  3. La reproducción electrónica y comunicación pública controlada de obras para el uso gratuito y simultaneo de los usuarios en terminales de redes de la entidad en condiciones que garanticen la imposibilidad de realizar copias electrónicas de la obra reproducida.
  4. La traducción de obras originalmente escritas en idioma extranjero transcurrido el plazo de tres años desde la primera publicación o de un año en caso de obras periódicas, cuando su traducción no haya sido publicada en el Ecuador por su titular. La traducción deberá ser realizada con fines de investigación o estudio de los usuarios de tales entidades y solo podrán ser reproducidas en citas parciales en las publicaciones que resulten de dichas traducciones.
  5. El suministro de acceso temporal a obras protegidas que se encuentren incorporadas en un soporte digital o en otro medio intangible.
  6. La reproducción y el suministro de copias de obras protegidas a otra biblioteca o archivo.
  7. La reproducción, adaptación, traducción, transformación, arreglo, distribución de obras protegidas en formato accesible para el uso exclusivo de personas con discapacidad.

Adicionalmente, el Ecuador promovió e impulsó la expedición del Tratado de Marrakech para facilitar el acceso a las obras publicadas a las personas ciegas, con discapacidad visual o con otras dificultades para acceder al texto impreso; instrumento internacional que entró en vigor el 30 de septiembre de 2016 y que actualmente ha sido adherido y ratificado por 34 países[3], incluido el Estado Ecuatoriano.

A través del Tratado de Marrakech se pretende facilitar el acceso a obras en formato accesible mediante la imposición legal de limitaciones y excepciones al derecho de autor. El principal beneficio que incorpora el Tratado es la posibilidad del intercambio transfronterizo de obras en formato accesible y las bibliotecas, archivos y museos cumplen un papel trascendental en este proceso.

Para más preguntas acerca de las disposiciones, pueden ponerse en contacto con el Servicio Nacional de Derechos Intelectuales – SENADI[4] o la IFLA.


English version

Libraries in copyright reforms: the example of Ecuador

With the collaboration of the Instituto Ecuatoriano de la Propiedad Intelectual

Access to information is a clear asset for social and economic development. As underlined in the Development and Access to Information Report, “access to information is not an end in itself, but rather a driver of progress across the board. It empowers people and communities, laying the foundations for equality, sustainability, and prosperity. It provides a clear illustration of the rights-based, holistic approach to development taken in the 2030 Agenda. ”

Libraries are fundamental in this process, and so are copyright policies. A balanced legislative framework favors access to and use of information, creativity and innovation, and thus development. On the contrary, strict regimes leave little room for maneuver and do present difficulties of adaptation to the changes in the digital age. In the studyThe User Rights Database: Measuring the Impact of copyright Balance”, Sean Flynn and Michael Palmedo show evidence of benefits that more equitable copyright systems and user rights generate.

That is why IFLA supports copyright policies that follow this line and works with librarians worldwide to promote and defend appropriate changes for the sector. Some examples are South Africa, the European Union or Colombia. In order to boost changes where they are not taking place, to guarantee minimum standards and to facilitate cross-border activities, efforts are also being coordinated at an international level through the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).[5]

As a good example, we want to refer to recent changes in Ecuador. The Organic Code on the Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation (COESC),[6] enacted in December 2016, incorporated substantial reforms in the regulation of intellectual property rights in Ecuador. The aim was to promote a balanced exercise of rights in order to facilitate greater access to information, culture and knowledge while protecting the rights of creators and rightsholders.

Regarding works deposited in libraries, archives or museums, article 212, section 9, allows the following acts:

  1. The individual reproduction of a work when the copy is in the collection of the library, museum or archive, provided that it is carried out for the following purposes: a) to preserve the copy and replace it in case of loss, destruction or lack of use; b) deliver the reproduced copy to another library or file on loan for the users; and, c) replace in the permanent collections a copy that has been lost, destroyed or unused.
  2. The reproduction of fragments of works at the request of users exclusively for personal use.
  3. The electronic reproduction and controlled public communication of works for the free and simultaneous use of users in network terminals of the entity under conditions that guarantee the impossibility of making electronic copies of the work reproduced.
  4. The translation of works originally written in a foreign language after a period of three years from the first publication or one year in the case of periodical works, when its translation has not been published in Ecuador by its owner. The translation must be carried out for the purpose of research or study of the users of such entities and may only be reproduced in partial citations in the publications resulting from said translations.
  5. The supply of temporary access to protected works that are incorporated in a digital medium or in another intangible medium.
  6. Reproduction and supply of copies of protected works to another library or archive.
  7. Reproduction, adaptation, translation, transformation, arrangement, distribution of protected works in accessible format for the exclusive use of persons with disabilities.

In addition, Ecuador promoted ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for blind people, visually impaired or with other difficulties to access the printed text. It entered into force on September 30, 2016 in Ecuador and has now been adhered to and ratified by 34[7], countries, including Ecuador. This intends to facilitate access to accessible formats through limitations and exceptions to copyright. One of the main benefits is the possibility of cross-border exchange of works in accessible format. Libraries, archives and museums play a transcendental role in this process.

For more questions about the provisions, you can get in touch with the Servicio Nacional de Derechos Intelectuales – SENADI[8] or with IFLA.


[1] Más información sobre la actividad de la IFLA ante la OMPI en el siguiente enlace:

[2] Disponible a través del siguiente enlace:

[3] Organización Mundial de la Propiedad Intelectual (21 de febrero de 2018), Tratados administrados por la OMPI, obtenido de:

[4] Contacto a través de las siguientes direcciones de correo electrónico: o

[5] More on IFLA’s work at WIPO here:

[6] Available here:

[7] World Intellectual Property Organisation (21 February 2018), WIPO administered treaties:

[8] Email: or

Why Do Libraries Care about Copyright Reforms?

By Jessica Coates, Copyright Adviser, Australian Libraries Copyright Commitee, and member of the IFLA CLM Network

As we continue the good fight for copyright reform, it isn’t uncommon to be asked – why would libraries get involved with something so political?

But the truth is, in the debates surrounding copyright reform internationally, libraries have for decades been one of the most consistent voices. In fact, in pre-internet days, before the rise of intermediaries, social media and Silicon Valley, librarians and teachers were often the only voices you could find to argue against expansion of copyright.

Copyright advocacy relates directly to our core values as librarians – free flow of information and ideas through open access to recorded knowledge, information, and creative works.  We truly believe that knowledge has the power to transform lives. This core value aligns closely to Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which establishes the right of access to information for all human beings (amongst others). But sometimes copyright gets in the way of this ideal.

As hubs for culture and learning, libraries have a better understanding than most that copyright has two sides – it needs to take into account both the rights of creators to make decisions about their creations, and the rights of citizens to access knowledge. There are several reasons why this balance is particularly important to librarians.

First, there is the most obvious reason – practicality. Overly strict copyright can and does present a significant barrier to librarians doing their jobs. The defaults of international copyright law are set to maximum protection – in most systems, every act of copying is illegal unless it has been made legal through a legislative exception or with written permission from the copyright owner. This applies even to the fundamental activities of libraries, including preservation of cultural materials and supplying material for library users and researchers.

For most libraries, permissions are so impractical as to be impossible – the national collections of Australia, for example, have hundreds of kilometres of unpublished manuscripts, most of which have no known or contactable author. For these and other ‘orphan’ works, permissions are not an option. So that just leaves exceptions.

The digital revolution has only made matters worse. Where once conservation was the main game for many institutions – fighting against the ravages of age on pages and films, modern technologies mean that any institution with even an ounce of resources now focuses on digitally preserving as much as their collection as possible, so that the content remains available even as the object itself declines. And digital preservation requires copying. In a similar vein, where once supplying to a client meant getting a book from the stacks or perhaps mailing it to their local library, it now more often than not means scanning and emailing. Or better yet, pro-actively reaching out to the public through online digital archives and exhibitions.

Thus new technologies have vastly increased the reach of libraries and their ability to meet the needs of even the most isolated members of the public. But it has also put them head to head with copyright laws that tend to assume that any copying without permission – even if non-commercial, private or in the public interest – is unjustified.

And so librarians have pushed for balance – and in most (but not all) countries won – reasonable exceptions to let them do their job. Exceptions for preservation, for the provision of material to researchers, to make older and inaccessible material available online, to run exhibitions. Or flexible exceptions broad enough to cover all these activities.

But exceptions for libraries only do half the job. What is the point in libraries spending millions of dollars getting their collections online, if those collections can be used for little other than passive reading? This is why librarians have also long been strong advocates for the rights of others – researchers, teachers, their clients, creators – to be able to make reasonable use of the materials they provide them. Australia’s amazing Trove resource makes over 18.5 million pages from the national collection of newspapers from the first newspaper published in 1803 to selected titles from the 1980’s available online for anyone to see. But at the moment it’s illegal for the public to do much beyond reading these – family historians can’t legally use snippets of them in blog posts, academics can’t reproduce them in published papers, and authors can’t quote them in books – without the author’s permission.

Librarians of course love creators and want to support them to achieve as much financial success as they can – librarians and creators are part of the same eco system which facilitates access to knowledge and ideas. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a librarian who didn’t start as a book-geek, reading themselves to sleep every night, and libraries spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on new book purchases, e-resources, subscriptions etc. But they also recognise that an academic quoting 3 lines from a letter to a famous figure is not going to cause financial hardship to a creator or rights holder. They see that the rights of authors, important though they are, need to be balanced against the public goods of free speech and access to knowledge. And yes, even the rights of other creators, so that future authors can build on the past, and our cultural lives aren’t smothered by laws that only look at part of the picture.

This is why around the world you’ll find librarians at the forefront of advocacy for more reasonable and flexible copyright exceptions. They are fighting for the rights of us all – to access and use the knowledge and culture that surrounds us.

Out of Copyright: When Rights are the Wrong Answer


The concept of exclusive author’s rights has undoubtedly shaped the creative economy of today. By turning creativity into an investment good, it has reduced reliance on rich sponsors to cover costs, as used to be the case in the art market for example. Instead, the focus of efforts to cover costs is on charging for access to, or use of, a work. On the back of this, an industry has emerged, built around the management (i.e. making money from) of rights, with a view to recovering costs and maximising profits.

 As frequently set out in the news page of IFLA’s own Advisory Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM), and many other blogs, websites and other fora, there is a long-standing tension as to how to achieve the right balance, in the short- and long-term, between rightholders and users. Specialists in the exploitation of rights play a key role in these discussions, usually to defend the primacy of copyrights over exceptions. On questions such as copying, lending, and making works available online, this is a valid discussion.

 However, there is also frequently a tendency to try to use copyright to ‘solve’ other issues. Given the broad scope of copyright – all but the most basic forms of expression – it is necessary to take extreme care in applying it outside of its original purpose. In short, and as the rest of this blog will suggest, there are many questions whose solutions definitely should be out of copyright. 


Fake News: The economic situation of the ‘quality’ press has been one of the most dramatic stories of the last few years. While some have established paywalls, others are now competing for attention, and so advertising revenues with websites which knowingly share stories which play to populism, regardless of facts. This shift to the attention-grabbing is, arguably, one of the reasons behind the ‘fake news’ phenomenon.

 So what does copyright have to do with this? In Europe, press publishers (and some MEPs) have argued that awarding new rights could provide an income boost that would help pay for quality journalism. The target? News aggregators such as Google News and other smaller companies, in the hope of claiming a share of the spectacular revenues they are earning.

 The problem is that new rights would not only create revenues for the ‘quality’ press, but indeed for any news website, regardless of how well researched its content is. By attacking news aggregators in general, a vital means of allowing readers to understand the different perspectives taken on a given issue would be under threat. Difficulties in enforcing legitimate rights could be solved by a presumption of representation, saving time in proving the legal standing of the publisher. An imbalance in power between commercial operators should be a competition issue. Copyright is certainly the wrong tool.


Privacy: a bizarre connection was made in the context of discussions about Cambridge Analytica in the European Parliament. A blog on this subject has already appeared on this site, but in short, the argument was that the sort of illicit use of personal data harvested from Facebook users seen in this case could have been avoided if publishers were allowed to claim revenues for licensing text and data mining.

 There is much to be said for individuals understanding how their data may be used when signing up for services such as Facebook, and recent EU legislation promotes ‘data ownership’ – i.e. the right of individuals to decide what happens with their own data. But this is not a copyright question. 

 Indeed, zealousness in monetising and protecting copyrighted works may even pose a threat to privacy. New technology creates the possibility to monitor how individuals use works, for example which pages or chapters of a book they are consulting, what analysis they are performing (in the case of text and data mining), and even the speed at which they read different elements. In effect, copyright is used as an excuse to look over a readers’ shoulder in order to harvest data that can be monetised.

 As set out in IFLA’s response to the call for contributions on privacy in the digital age, such monitoring can have a chilling effect on free access to information. Copyright should not be used as an excuse to invade privacy.


Piracy: the Internet has certainly changed people’s expectations as to how easy it should be to access works. Where this access is seen as too expensive, or too complicated, users have often turned to piracy. This is undoubtedly illegal in and of itself. Much progress has been made where those managing rights have understood the need to provide easier access, for example through platforms such as Spotify or Amazon, or through maximising options for free access (see Clarivate’s purchase of Kopernio).

 In parallel, there are legal efforts to crack down on those who make money from pirating goods. The concern comes when the focus of these efforts is less on those committing piracy, and more on the platforms that they use to do these. Where these platforms are also massively used for legitimate purposes, such efforts risk causing significant collateral damage.

 In many countries, ‘safe harbour’ provisions offer protection to platforms, ensuring that they do not face liability for the actions of their users, as long as they respond to requests for content to be taken down. Yet these provisions are under attack, with calls for the conditions allowing sites to benefit from ‘safe harbour’ rules to be tightened, with, for example, an obligation to filter all uploads to check for infringement. The potential impact, for example on scientific or educational repositories, most of which will not have the funds, or the inclination to vet everything uploaded by users, could be disastrous.

 Where there is piracy, the focus should be on better enforcement of existing rules, not on creating new ones. Once again, new copyrights are not the answer. 


Text and Data Mining: digital technologies – and in particular the ability of computers to understand data and text – have opened up the way to far quicker analysis of scientific research, as well as any other digital materials (photos, Tweets, news stories…). Whereas a human reader needs time to read, understand, and extract meaning from an article, a computer can do this almost instantaneously, making it possible to draw on a much greater range of materials.

 Text and Data Mining (TDM) is already leading to new discoveries, spotting connections and trends that would only have been possible before with an army of researchers. It also underpins artificial intelligence, one of the most promising fields of technological progress today.

 What’s the link with copyright? Doubtless realising the potential value to researchers and others of TDM, publisher organisations are resisting efforts to clarify that mining activities should not be subject to copyright. This flies in the face of the Berne Convention, that underlines that mere facts – data – should be excluded from intellectual property protection.

 As library organisations have frequently underlined in discussions in Europe, once there is legal access to a work (i.e. because it is freely available online, or where a subscription has been paid), there should be the right to analyse it. In short, the right to read should be the right to mine. Datasets created for the purposes of TDM need to be preserved in order to ensure that others can verify the results of analysis.

 Where there are questions about privacy, data protection laws should apply. Where information has not been accessed legally in the first place, anti-piracy laws exist. TDM itself should be out of copyright. 


Free Speech: the right to review – and critique – underpins free and open public debate. By discussing ideas, and taking them apart, it becomes possible for new ones to emerge. From formal news programmes to individual blogs and Twitter, quoting and reusing copyrighted works is essential not only to democracy, but also innovation and satire.

 Yet there are documented cases of copyright being used to stifle free speech. Setting aside the clearly fraudulent, there are worrying cases of companies and others claiming infringement when their works are cited in the context of critique or review. For libraries encouraging users to move from being consumers to creators, for example by producing book reviews, research, or remixes, there is the real possibility of facing copyright restrictions.

 This should not be the case. If criticism is unfairly harmful, there are defamation laws. Copyright should have nothing to do with free speech. 


Amazon’s Dominance: Finally, it is certainly true that Amazon has caused immense disruption on the book market, and shifted a large share of sales away from traditional booksellers. That ‘bricks and mortar’ bookshops retain their relevance has been underlined by the fact that the same company is setting up its own physical outlets.

 In parallel, Amazon was also quick to move into the eBook market, capturing a large share of sales, and also offering its services to people wanting to self-publish. With its own eBook tools, it has also been able to capture a large share of the value of eBooks from other publishers.

 The result is a highly mixed picture – of harm to booksellers, but also the empowerment of new authors to reach readers. What is clear is that copyright is, again, not a solution to the position of Amazon. As with fake news, if one player in the market is so big that they can force others to do what they want, this is a competition issue, not a rights one.  

Bringing World Heritage to the World: Creative Commons Day 3 Blog

A cancelled plane provided the opportunity to attend Day 3 of the Creative Commons Global Summit, and a great chance to hear about what the movement is doing to build on the 1.4bn works already under CC licences, as well as some of the threats bad policy can pose to this.

The challenge faced – how to help people find and make use of this wealth of content – is familiar to libraries. And many of those most active in the discussions worked in libraries, both in organising knowledge, but also in helping users build new ideas and innovations on top of this.

This work is timely. Cultural heritage institutions are increasingly under pressure to show the impact of their work and collections. Digital humanities techniques allow researchers to uncover meaning and spot trends in heritage documents. There are new possibilities to draw on (remix) works to create new ideas. And as IFLA underlined in the Development and Access to Information Report (in partnership with TASCHA), meaningful access includes the ability to apply, share and create.

Creative Commons’ latest efforts focus on developing both a catalogue, and a search function that will enable users to immediately find works that they can use – and re-use – freely – a major effort. The idea of an Open GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) platform will be one to follow.

Wikipedia is also working on similar projects – notably through encouraging cultural heritage institutions to upload information about their collections. And of course every digital library project, notably DPLA and Europeana – is involved in this same mission. There are also efforts to understand the difference they make – their impact – and we’re looking forward to a session on this subject at WLIC.


Other sessions provided a reminder that for all of the positivity and proactivity of Creative Commons, the need to engage on legislative reform is still pressing. These reforms can provide both an opportunity – and a threat – when it comes to possibilities to preserve, copy and re-use works.

A particular concern is efforts to make compensation for rightholders obligatory. While this may be intended to protect artists from losing their rights to publishers or record companies, it also makes open licensing effectively impossible. For Creative Commons this is a big concern.

These provisions can appear in domestic reforms, or through trade deals. While there is some evidence that copyright reforms are beginning to take account of the need to support access and use, trade deals (often informed by discussions only with industry groups) often remain harmful. Progress at the World Intellectual Property Organisation could help halt the erosion of rights at the global level.


IFLA at the Second meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development – Days 1 and 2 (Civil Society Meetings)

Kicking-off a full week advocating for libraries and access to information at the Second meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, IFLA’s delegation in Santiago, Chile, took active part of meetings organised by civil society at the Forum on 16-17 April.

On 17 April, local organisations representing civil society, Mesa de Articulación de Asociaciones Nacionales y Redes Regionales de ONG de América Latina y El Caribe and Asociación Chilena de Organismos No Gubernamentales (Acción Internacional), organised two side events about relevant issues related to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) involvement in the UN 2030 Agenda and international cooperation, as well as the status of alternative reporting and their interactions with Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).

South-south cooperation and the 2030 Agenda: challenges of civil society in LAC

Starting in the morning of 17 April, IFLA was present at the side event “South-south cooperation and the 2030 Agenda: challenges of civil society in LAC” where the situation of international cooperation in Chile and the role of CSOs in the 2030 Agenda implementation process and mechanisms was presented.  

In the afternoon, the “Training workshop on alternative reporting” was a perfect opportunity to present the Development and Access to Information (DA2I) report, a contribution from IFLA and TASCHA to the monitoring of the 2030 Agenda by measuring access to information and the libraries’ contribution to achieving sustainable development and the 17 SDGs. The event discussed shadow reporting, including an overview of challenges presented by SDG indicators, and reflections related to financing and CSOs involvement and support.Training workshop on alternative reporting

The programme of the Forum started officially on 17 April with the “Latin America and the Caribbean civil society consultation prior to the second meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development” (morning and afternoon programmes).

Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) opened with a speech addressing her views on the current status of the 2030 Agenda in the region, and she stated: “Governments have stopped talking about the 2030 Agenda (…) The 2030 Agenda is a priority, a necessity. It’s the only way to battle inequality.”

Opening by Alicia Bárcena

This event was an excellent opportunity for IFLA delegates present on the first days of the Forum: Adriana Cybele Ferrari (FEBAB President, Brazil) and Maria Violeta Bertolini (IFLA), with the support of Sueli Mara Soares Pinto Ferreira (IFLA Governing Board Member/FEBAB, Brazil) to connect with other civil society organisations and ensure the need for meaningful access to information is considered throughout the event as a key element for sustainable development.

IFLA delegation at the ForumAs a few highlights: as a result of networking with fellow Brazilian civil society members, Adriana was invited to be involved in the Comissão Nacional para os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável (CNODS) of Brazil. Moreover, the IFLA the delegation had the opportunity to connect with Rosario Diaz Garavito, founder of The Millennials Movement and one of the UN NGO Major Group Operating Partners for Latin America as well as Co Focal Point on Humanitarian Affairs for the LATAM region. This was an opportunity to identify the common interests related to empowering youth, in our case through libraries, and to discuss potential room for collaboration at a regional level.IFLA with NGO Major Group LATAM

During the Civil Society consultation, the IFLA delegation took part in the discussions where key ideas to be included in the Civil Society Declaration were presented, to form a collective declaration that will be read at the Forum before the end of this week. In addition to submitting a key idea arguing for the need to recognise access to information as a human right, and the need for informed, empowered and committed citizens to have a participatory, inclusive and democratic agenda, IFLA volunteered to be part of the Civil Society team compiling all contributions and writing the final declaration.Civil Society Declaration

In the afternoon, the proposed mechanism/modality of civil society participation in the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development was reviewed, with very engaging discussions that will shape the future of Civil Society participation in LAC regional forums.

We look forward to continuing engaging with fellow Civil Society representatives after the official opening of the Forum that takes place today!

Civil Society Meetings

Find out more about IFLA’s work on libraries and development, the Development and Access to Information (DA2I) report, and follow us during the event on Twitter (@IFLA and @IFLA_Lib4Dev, and Facebook).

Use hashtags #ForoALC2030, #ForumLAC2030, #DA2I, and #Lib4Dev to stay tuned!