IFLA welcomes report on the Human Aspects of Copyright

[12 Mar 2015] IFLA - on behalf of the international library and archive community - has welcomed the report from the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights to the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on copyright policy in the context of cultural rights. IFLA, together with CILIP and a dozen other signatories, has also published a [PDF] statement of support noting "the view that the international copyright framework in the digital environment reflects an imbalance that favours the needs of industry over the public interest, and does not provide the necessary safeguards and support for the activities of not-for-profit cultural institutions."

The full report can be accessed on the UN Human Rights web pages, and notes that intellectual property and human rights have "evolved largely separately". The UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed, emphasises "both the need for protection of authorship and expanding opportunities for participation in cultural life" and "also proposes to expand copyright exceptions and limitations to empower new creativity, enhance rewards to authors, increase educational opportunities, preserve space for non-commercial culture and promote inclusion and access to cultural works.

"An equally important recommendation is to promote cultural and scientific participation by encouraging the use of open licences, such as those offered by Creative Commons." (Quotations taken from report Summary.)

Bringing together other commentary, the report also notes the suggestions that "a flexible fair-use provision be internationally adopted, explicitly giving countries permission and guidelines to develop additional exceptions and limitations as yet unforeseen" and "developing countries would like WIPO to build on its initiative for the Marrakesh Treaty [see UKeiG Legal Resources page], by considering a treaty on exceptions and limitations to copyright for libraries and archives and/or exceptions and limitations for education" noting that while this is "Strongly supported by library advocacy organizations, that suggestion has met with resistance from developed countries."