LIBER statement on cross border uses at SCCR 27

At SCCR 27, library and archive organisations have been able to offer interventions on specific topics before the Committee for consideration. On Thursday 1 May discussions for libraries and archives began with Topic 6, Cross Border Uses. The following statement was delivered by Mr. Benjamin White, representing LIBER: 

Thank you Mr Chair.

As this is the first time we have taken the floor, on behalf of LIBER, La Ligue des Bibliotheques Europeennes de Recherche, I would like to thank the committee for granting us observer status.

LIBER represents 410 research libraries (university, research centre, and national libraries) from over 40 countries across Europe and  beyond. Our mission is to create an information infrastructure to enable research in our institutions to be world class. Research shows that much of the best research in Europe takes place as a result of international, cross-border collaborations.   Our information infrastructure must be globally oriented, and underpinned by a legal framework that supports seamless access to information and enables its exploitation for innovation.

The collaborative nature of research and the value of its results are increasing exponentially.  This potential has been recognised in the G8 Open Data Charter of 2013. The Charter also recognises that international IP legislation must be observed.

The Research Data Alliance, which was a brainchild of the G8, aims to facilitate international and interdisciplinary collaboration and recognises the importance of legal interoperability.

The scope of intellectual property protection of information  within them can be confusing, even to the legal community.

The cross border nature of many of the activities of libraries are many.

To name but a few: interlibrary loan, licensing, the use of orphan works and out of commerce works, document supply, and as outlined yesterday by the German library association also the purchasing of analogue information across borders. The United States national library, the library of congress even has overseas field offices in cairo, islamabad, jakarta, nairobi, new  delhi and rio de janeiro for this purpose.

As this illustrates preservation, collection development, and sharing by  large research libraries is by definition international and cross border.

We also see the huge growth in international research outputs. According to bibliometric data over 40 per cent of research outputs from France and germany are from international research collaborations. The UK between 1990 and 2005 saw collaborations with researchers in India, Australia, Canada and germany grow from 50 percent with germany, up to 65 percent in the case of India.

Why then given all this cross border activity are library  limitations and not cross border in their effect? Education, culture, and this huge increase in international research and education does not take place in jurisdictional silos.

In the context of a cross border research project, it is only common sense that a medical researcher shares a new and pertinent research finding packaged in the form of a research article with his or her international colleagues working on the same project. National silos of limitations and exceptions do not clearly allow such activity. It could be argued perhaps within Europe that levy based private copying exceptions may allow this article to travel from Berlin to Vienna. But how does it work when this article travels to Canada where no such levies exist. Did the German legislature foresee this use in Canada, is it incorporated in the German levy calculations? How do German limitations and exceptions interplay with  Canadian fair dealing exceptions? Are there obligations that Canadian laws place on the German researcher when making the copy?

This example I think aptly illustrates why nation based silos of limitations and exceptions leave libraries in an impossible legal position in the context of the cross border learning and research environment we live in.

As we see starting to happen in the EU for certain limitations and exceptions ,LIBER believes we need certain, specific, well-defined  exceptions that facilitate the activities of libraries to be cross border in effect.

Not doing so does not reflect the norms of our respective member states massive investment in libraries, research and education itself. Complexity does not mean that we should not solve this.

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