What’s on in copyright?

After our blog post Copyright for Libraries in 2018, we have engaged with the CLM network to keep up the effort of spotting copyright changes around the world. Here’s an update at the start of the second half of the year:

The Marrakesh Treaty

Recent Marrakesh Treaty ratification/accession

United States, Ghana, Afghanistan, Dominican Republic, Jordan, Lesotho, Uganda.

Progress in the EU: all member states need to bring their law in line with European legislation on the matter by October 2018. IFLA has prepared an overview of who had implemented it by June 2018 and on the direction that other countries are taking.

There is currently a text under discussion at the Senate in Argentina for the adoption of the Treaty.

Trade deals

EU-Japan Trade Deal

The EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement, signed in July, contains a chapter on intellectual property. The text will only become effective once it is approved domestically on both sides.

It includes the following provisions relevant to libraries:

  • An encouragement to both sides to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty (this should be achieved by next year) (14.4.3(f))
  • Encouragement to raise awareness about the protection of intellectual property (although there is a reference to the use of IP) (14.7)
  • Exclusive Rights (14.8):
    • Reproduction, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means (for authors)
    • Distribution, by sale or otherwise (but the details of exhaustion/first sale are left to the parties) (for authors)
    • Communication to the public  (for authors)
    • To note that there are also fixation and post-fixation rights for broadcasters (14.11)
    • Term of protection set at life+70 for authors, and 70 years from creation for works by moral persons (14.13)
  • Limitations and Exceptions (14.14)
    • Each Party may provide for limitations or exceptions to the rights set out in Articles 14.8 to 14.12 only in certain special cases which neither conflict with a normal exploitation of the subject matter nor unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the right holders, in accordance with the conventions and international agreements to which it is party.
  • Resale Right (14.15)
    • There is to be an exchange of views on this
  • Collective Management (14.16)
    • The agreement promotes cooperation, transparency, and non-discrimination
  • Public Domain (14.17)
    • At least works that are already in the public domain are not going to be brought back under copyright

EU-Australia Trade Deal

Negotiations have opened on a trade deal between the European Union and Australia. A blog from Rita Matulionyte at the University of Newcastle, Australia, explores the potential impact on copyright, suggesting that the EU is unlikely to have much to ask for beyond the concessions Australia already made as part of its trade deal with the United States. The main area is likely to be platforms where, the blog suggests, the EU may both push for extension of safe harbour provisions to commercial operators, but also application of whatever rules on upload filtering come out of the current copyright reforms within the blog.

North America


The Canadian Parliament continues to carry out its review of the country’s copyright laws, taking evidence from different sides of the debate. Libraries are arguing for the current fair dealing provisions to be safeguarded, as well as engaging in discussions around copyright and indigenous knowledge, technological protection measures, and contract override. In parallel, legal processes involving Canadian universities, education ministries and the reprographic rights collecting society Access Copyright continue, as does a review of how copyright royalties are defined. You can read more on the pages of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations. Results of the review are expected towards the middle of next year, and will inform policy choices made by whoever wins the elections due in October 2019.



The Nigerian copyright bill has been approved by the Cabinet, and is now before Parliament.

IFLA will be submitting comments once the official approved Bill is available online.

Here’s information from the international author’s website on a conference on quality education.


As Susan Reilly reported, the Council of Ministers recently approved the accession of Qatar to the Marrakesh Treaty. Attached the press release shared by Susan.

More information is available here.

South Africa

Following the change of President in South Africa, there were worrying stories of efforts to remove provisions concerning library exceptions and limitations and the Marrakesh Treaty from the planned copyright reforms. Fortunately, the Parliamentary committee currently in charge of the dossier appears to have decided to retain the proposed changes, and so the bill continues more or less as originally planned. Importantly, it contains valuable and up-to-date steps around fair dealing (and potentially fair use) which will set South Africa’s libraries in good stead to deliver access to information. Nonetheless, local collecting societies and publishers continue to provide opposition, despite recent scandals around the distribution of royalties.


United Kingdom

The official start-date for e-PLR in the UK was the 1 July. The official government press release is available here.


Mikkel Christoffersen reported on the Denmark being the first country where PLR was payed based on eBooks & digital audio books.

European Union

The European Parliament plenary rejected the report adopted by the lead committee on the dossier, mainly because of the two very controversial articles about upload filters and a new neighbouring right for press publishers. A new text will be voted upon on September. More information is available here.



Jessica Coates recently sent an update. A new copyright bill went through end of June to extend the Australian service provider safe harbours to libraries and archives. “The Australian service provider safe harbours are fairly similar to those in other countries – they limit the damages that online service providers pay when their clients use their services to infringe copyright, as long as the service providers take steps like takedown of material. But due to a quirk of how we introduced it, they’ve only ever applied to commercial ISPs in Australia, not to others who provide the same services. Those left out included libraries and archives, universities, schools, and online platforms (e.g. local version of YouTube, Facebook etc). The good news is that after a decade (??!!) of lobbying we’ve finally managed to get the government to extend the safe harbours – but only to the non-profits above (ie cultural, education and disability groups). The debate has been caught in the “value gap” argument (even though none of the platforms it applies to are based here in Australia), and as a result online platforms still don’t get the protections in Australia. It’s actually become really controversial, and one of the strongest fought battles in copyright reform over the last few years. Even though one of our local platforms, Redbubble, has already been sued in circumstances that would attract the safe harbours elsewhere, and has been found by the court to be a good actor in the space. So the new copyright changes are a bit of a bitter pill – it’s a win for the cultural and educational sectors, and is particularly relevant for universities. But the people who need it the most are still left out. Still, you have to be grateful for baby steps. Here’s the ALCC’s press release (just libraries): http://libcopyright.org.au/media/libraries-and-archives-welcome-safe-harbour-extension”.

Furthermore, the Government welcomed submission on the Copyright Modernisation Bill. More information is available here, together with all submissions sent. IFLA’s is available here and ALCC’s is here.


Here’s an article (in Japanese) regarding progress on the Japanese copyright reform. As colleagues had reported earlier, it seems the reform focuses on big data, educational uses of works, orphan works, Marrakesh, among other. The newspiece indicates that the “enforcement” date is January 1, 2019.

The google translate says the following (it seems to make more or less sense, Japanese speakers can probably provide more information):

“the revised copyright law corresponding to progress of digitization / networking and expansion of information access opportunities for persons with disabilities established. On 18th May, 2018, at the 196th ordinary session of the House of Councilors House of Councilors, a law revising part of the copyright law was passed. The outline of revision is as follows: (1) Make it possible to use the copyrighted material for services etc. making use of big data without permission. In addition, abstract provisions are developed to some extent so that it can flexibly cope with the development of information and communication technology when new ways of using copyrighted work are born; (2) The act of sending teaching materials created by the teacher using the copyrighted work of another person to the student’s terminal through the network for classes at schools etc. and for preparing / reviewing, etc., compensation for the amount equivalent to the copyright holder Make it possible to do without permission by paying; (3) To review the Marrakesh Treaty approved at the House of Councilors Plenary on April 25, 2018, review the provisions currently targeted by visually impaired persons, and have persons with disabilities including physical disability To make it possible to create a recording book without permission; (4) Explanation of exhibited works such as art museums. Creating materials for introduction digitally, making it available for viewing with tablet terminals etc., or without sending materials such as out-of-prints to the foreign libraries by the National Diet Library. Also, in the case of unknown copyright owner etc., when the national government and local governments etc. use the arbitration system of Agency for Cultural Affairs, deposit of compensation money is not required. The enforcement date is January 1, 2019. However, regarding (2), it shall be the day specified by Cabinet Order within a period not exceeding three years from the date of promulgation.


The Thai government has been receiving comments on its implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty. As Teresa Hackett shared with the list, the cabinet has approved the regulation and the prime minister sent it to National Legislative Assembly on 18.4.2017.


Taiwan, which already has a fair use provision in its law, is making a small amendment which will make it clear that fair use exists independently of additional, statutory exceptions to copyright.

New Zealand

The review of New Zealand copyright law continues, with news of Google visits to the country to undertake lobbying. The coverage in Stuff suggests efforts by the company to gain legal recognition for its upload filtering technologies (as may happen in Europe). We are waiting on further updates on legislation, as well as on Marrakesh Ratification, which is also under discussion.

Latin America and the Caribbean


The Mexican Senate passed changes to copyright law that would censor content online. More information is available at the CC webpage.


The changes from the recent copyright reform have been adopted. Some of the most relevant points for libraries: there is an orphan works provision, based on a mandatory search; there is also a lending exception (with no explicit reference to digital lending, which does not necessarily exclude it). There are some negative additions, such as an extension of the term of protection (from 50 to 70). The Marrakesh provisions will be adopted through another reform.

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