Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

eIFL tries to balance copyright and access to knowledge

eIFL has written a report on the first global eIFL-IP conference, Advocacy for Access to Knowledge: copyright and libraries (Istanbul, April 4-5, 2008).  Excerpt:

"This was the first time that [representatives from all 40 eIFL member countries] met as a group", said Teresa Hackett, eIFL-IP Programme Manager. "Of course, there are regional and national differences, but as librarians we have one common goal, to provide access to knowledge....[W]e must ensure that there is a balance between copyright protections and access to copyrighted works".

The first day focused on practical issues faced by librarians in their daily work, such as copyright and library services and the role of copyright in digitisation projects. The second day looked at international policy issues and advocacy, especially recent developments at the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.

"The influence of U.S. copyright law goes far beyond its shores", commented Jonathan Band, legal counsel for the U.S. based Library Copyright Alliance. "Librarians in developing and transition countries who find themselves confronted with the possibility of higher standards of copyright protections through bi-lateral trade agreements, for example, should know about the U.S. doctrine of fair use and insist that it also be included in their law".

One of the modules in the library copyright curriculum being developed by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, in partnership with eIFL, deals with exceptions and limitations. The draft curriculum was presented by Berkman Fellow, Melanie Dulong de Rosnay to gather comments and feedback from the community....

"There is a real need for librarians working in often extremely difficult contexts, to know more about the practical application of copyright as an enabler, rather than a barrier, to access...", said Laurence Bebbington, Law Librarian and Information Services Copyright Officer at the University of Nottingham in the UK....