SCCR27: CILIP statement on Technological Protection Measures

Ms. Barbara Stratton, speaking on behalf of CILIP:

Thank you Mr Chair. I am speaking on behalf of CILIP with the support of all the library and archive NGOs here present.

Prohibition of the circumvention of technological protection measures has been implemented in copyright laws around the world, but not always with government overseen workarounds enabling adjudication of cases concerning legitimate uses of content such as exist variously in EU Member States, Switzerland, Japan and the United States for example,. Even when a dispensation is granted at national level, unless the ruling is enforceable or the rightholder agrees to provide a clean copy of the work, technical challenges have to be overcome to remove the TPMs, which is costly and time consuming.

It should be noted that

  • TPMs do not cease to exist upon the expiry of copyright!  In effect they create perpetual copyright.
  • TPMs become obsolete when the platforms on which they operate cease to exist when a publisher or producer ceases to support server access, often because of going out of business. Works then become inaccessible, representing loss of content forever. TPMs can become obsolete in as little as 3 years.
  • Not only do libraries and archives already hold CDs and DVDs with TPMs on them – both formats on their way out as are the optical disc drives that play them, butelectronic legal deposit of e-books and e-journals and web harvesting is gathering pace around the world. Without action, TPMs will further thwart the ability of national libraries and libraries with special collections to preserve our cultural and scientific heritage for posterity.
  • TPMs may prevent acts permitted by national limitations and exceptions. The same TPM will apply to a specific digital information product, regardless of which country it is accessed from and which legal jurisdiction applies.

A recent example of TPMs impeding research comes from the UK:

Text and data mining is a process that enables or speeds up the discovery of new scientific facts. It is the machine extraction of facts from potentially hundreds of thousands of published scientific journal articles to identify hitherto unknown patterns and relationships in data for statistical analysis and modelling.  However,TPMs are preventing researchers from accessing the data they require directly from the e-journals to which their academic or research institution libraries subscribe. The copyright permissions needed to copy the journal articles, in order to mine them, are logistically very difficult, and for the most part prohibitively cumbersome and administratively costly to obtain, since several hundreds of thousands of articles by thousands of joint authors in many different scientific journals are required for one project.

Attempts by a number of UK university and research libraries to mine journals direct from publishers’ platforms were not only thwarted by TPMs, but the TPMs then automatically closed down these libraries’ access – which took weeks to restore. Indeed, to ensure text and data mining can go ahead, the UK has now laid legislation before its Parliament to introduce an exception permitting copying of works for the purposes of computational analysis for non-commercial research.

WIPO Member States have already recognised the TPM problem in Article 7 of the Marrakesh Treaty, which provides a useful precedent for language on TPMs that could be included in a treaty for libraries and archives.

Thank you for your attention.

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