Posted on 1 April 2015

"Fair copyright for all across Europe" rallying call from libraries, archives and charities

In a bid for fair copyright laws that will benefit citizens and researchers across Europe organisations including the Wellcome Trust, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, Royal Museums Greenwich and the Open Rights Group have called for much needed reforms.
The London Manifesto calls for fair copyright for libraries and archives across Europe. The manifesto outlines needed reforms that will better support research, innovation and growth and will help create a digital single market. It focuses on the important role of libraries and archives.

The reforms would bolster the rights of disabled people by supporting equal access to knowledge. They would mean that libraries can acquire and lend commercially available digital materials and, with archives, can continue to underpin knowledgeable societies in the digital age. The reforms would allow libraries and archives to better support research through modern text and data mining techniques. They would also create a more manageable system of harmonised copyright laws across EU member states.

Non standardised copyright laws across Europe are failing to support the vision of a digital single market because they currently prevent fair access and use of digital content. This means that researchers and citizens in one country can be subject to a completely different copyright regime than in another country. For example this creates significant problems for researchers who are working collaboratively across Europe. 

Naomi Korn, Chair of the Libraries & Archives Copyright Alliance, said, “We are calling on European legislators to implement the points in our Manifesto because piecemeal and inconsistent copyright laws across Europe are not good for anyone. They are holding back progress, undermining research and innovation and will ultimately obstruct the vision of a digital single market.” 

The London Manifesto will be launched at the CILIP Copyright Executive Briefing on 1st April 2015 in London, which focuses on the latest developments in copyright legislation and licensing. Now in its tenth year the event includes a keynote speech from Dr Ros Lynch, Copyright and IP Enforcement Director at the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Martyn Wade, CILIP Chair, said, “The Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals proudly supports the London Manifesto.  I call on cultural organisations, charities, libraries, archives and Universities to show their support for fair copyright laws across Europe by signing up in support of the manifesto. We will send the manifesto to MEPs, European Commissioners and national politicians to urge that these sensible reforms are adopted.”
Organisations will be able to show their support for fair copyright across Europe by signing in support of the London Manifesto at
Press contact:
Mark Taylor, Director of External Relations, CILIP
Tel: 020 7255 0654
Mobile: 07792 635 305

Notes to editors:

1.Full text of the London Manifesto

The London Manifesto
Fair Copyright Reform for Libraries and Archives in Europe
Fair copyright across Europe is essential. Without it we will fail to adequately support research, innovation and growth, and hinder the ambition for a digital single market. With it we will better foster knowledge across borders, meet the needs of disabled people and take full advantage of the digital age. We are calling for fair copyright that is fit for purpose and will benefit every European citizen.
We are advocating for: 

  • Harmonised exceptions: Harmonisation and uniform application of copyright exceptions across all EU member states so that they apply regardless of media or technology.
  •  Open norm: The addition of a new “open norm”, an open-ended exception subject to the three-step test, to avoid the current situation where European creativity and research cannot  immediately benefit from technological innovations because copyright legislation is slow to catch up.1
  • Right to lend: An automatic “right to lend” for libraries2, to include the right to lend all digital media, including transferring digital files for a limited period.
  • Right to acquire: A right at reasonable cost for libraries and archives to purchase or obtain a licence to use any work in copyright that has been made commercially available.
  • Right to mine: An automatic right to perform computer analysis of copyright works for libraries, archives or their users whenever they have lawful access to the content. This recognises that the right to read includes the right to mine.
  • Right for disabled people: Individuals with any cognitive and/or physical disabilities are entitled to the same access to knowledge as anyone else. In any country they must be allowed to make copies, or have made copies for them, in any format necessary if their disability is impeding access. The EU and its member states should speedily ratify the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty 2013, in particular to permit the transfer of accessible format copies between countries.
  • Right to enjoy statutory exceptions: Prohibition of contractual terms and/or technological protection measures (TPMs) that override any statutory copyright exceptions.
  • Right to cross-border uses: The right for libraries and archives to share resources and make available, communicate, transmit and distribute content and supply copies made under a copyright exception across borders.
  • Mass digitisation: An automatic right for libraries, archives and museums to mass digitise their commercially unavailable research collections, and give online access across the whole of the EU without liability to compensate rightholders.3
  • Standardised terms of protection for copyright: Swift and complete harmonisation of copyright durations across all member states.

1 E.g. Without a specific exception, in the USA researchers have been able to content mine under US Fair Use provisions. In Europe, where there is no open norm exception, only the UK has introduced a national content mining exception in 2014, limited by the Information Society Directive to non-commercial purposes.
2 In the EU, lending by public libraries is subject to remuneration.
3 Germany, France, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Czech Republic have legal mechanisms to allow mass digitisation of commercially unavailable materials. These should be expanded across Europe, including a cross-border effect so they work legally between EU member states.

2.Why these reforms are needed – further detail

The lack of mandatory copyright exceptions and limitations and the lack of standardised copyright durations across Europe currently prevents libraries and archives from supplying a great deal of copyright protected content from their collections to researchers and citizens across national borders. Europe’s researchers and citizens are subject to significantly different copyright regimes from one country to another, frustrating cross-border learning and research collaboration. If this situation is allowed to continue, the realisation of a digital single market will be seriously flawed and undermined since the services of libraries and archives to learning and research underpin Europe’s creativity and growth.

3. About the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) 

The London Manifesto has been published by the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA). Convened by CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, LACA advocates a fair and balanced copyright framework which respects both the rights of copyright holders and the interests of a democratic and free society. In doing this we stress the importance of a library or archive patron’s ability to access and make reasonable use of copyright materials. Library and archive patrons include all types of people ranging from researchers through to members of the general public.
LACA collaborates closely with IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, LIBER, La Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche and EBLIDA, the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations and is a member of Copyright for Creativity, a broad-based initiative of European civil society, libraries, industry and creators that seeks an informed debate on how copyright can more effectively support innovation, access and creativity.

4. About the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP) 

CILIP is the leading body representing the information professions. We believe in a literate, knowledgeable and connected society. We build the professionalism of our members by supporting the development of skills, knowledge and excellence. We provide unity through shared values and advocate on behalf of the information professions. Our members work in a range of sectors including higher education, schools, public libraries, health, commercial organisations and across government.

5. List of Manifesto signatories at launch on 1 April 2015 

  • Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland)
  • ARLIS UK & Ireland
  • Association of Dutch Public Libraries
  • Centrum Cyfrowe
  • Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
  • City University London
  • CLAUD - Promoting Accessible Libraries
  • Communia
  • Copyright for Creativity (C4C)
  • Dedicon
  • Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL)
  • Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre
  • European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations
  • FOBID Netherlands Library Forum
  • German Library Association
  • IAML (UK&Irl)
  • Kennisland
  • Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance
  • London Metropolitan University
  • Museums IP Network
  • National Library of Scotland
  • National Library of Wales
  • Open Rights Group
  • Julia Reda, MEP
  • Research Libraries UK (RLUK)
  • Royal Museums Greenwich
  • Share the Vision
  • Society of College, National and University Libraries
  • Swansea University Information Services and Systems
  • University of the Arts London
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Manchester Library
  • University of Sussex Library
  • Wellcome Trust