2009-04-23 - World Book and Copyright Day 2009: Statement by eIFL Librarians on Users’ Rights for Libraries, Education and Development

April 23, 2009
Embargo to 6pm BST 22.04.09

At the Second Global eIFL-IP conference in Istanbul in March 2009, librarians from thirty-nine developing and transition countries decided to highlight the importance of users’ rights for libraries and education to mark the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day on April 23rd, 2009. Sponsored by UNESCO, World Book and Copyright Day seeks to “promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright”. For libraries, and the people who use libraries, it is the exceptions and limitations to the legal protections granted to rightsholders that provide the basic mechanism for access to copyrighted content.

One of the greatest resources for development is the human resource. Libraries build capacity by providing quality learning support services to educational institutions and by promoting information literacy for lifelong learning. Copyright exceptions and limitations are critical to meeting the library mission to support learning and research, promote free expression and the flow of information in society and to preserve cultural and scientific heritage for future generations. Exceptions and limitations are important to libraries everywhere, but they are of critical importance to developing and transition countries whose capacity to access knowledge is crucial to their social and economic development.

“The role of librarians is to protect and promote access to knowledge and learning materials”, said Rilwanu Abdulsalami, Deputy University Librarian at Kaduna State University in Nigeria. “One of the key ways to achieve this is through well designed exceptions and limitations. Where the law is inadequate and needs to be changed, we will advocate for that change.”

“Many countries, such as Moldova, are updating their copyright laws”, added Mariana Harjevschi from the Public Law Library in Moldova. “It is important that the library community is involved in the process and is able to advocate effectively so that any amendments reflect the public interest and the real needs of Moldovan libraries and the people who use our libraries”.

"Librarians need to constantly update their knowledge on copyright issues by participating in both local and international fora. They should use this knowledge to educate library users on their rights in national copyright law. Librarians should form strong partnerships with related organisations, such as UNESCO, and should promote their support for balanced copyright laws to other stakeholders, such as publishers", said Valentina Bannerman, President of the Ghana Library Association.

"The participation of librarians from developing countries through eIFL and IFLA at meetings of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) is crucial. WIPO member countries need to hear about the needs of libraries first-hand so that they address these issues in their national laws. Without adequate limitations and exceptions in national laws, the knowledge and digital divides will just keep getting wider", added Denise Nicholson, Copyright Services Librarian at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

Read the statement online: http://www.eifl.net


Further information:
Rima Kupryte, Director
Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL)
c/o ADN Kronos, Piazza Mastai 9
00153 Rome, Italy
Tel: +(39)(06)5807216/17
E-mail: rima.kupryte[at]eifl.net


Notes for Editors


eIFL.net is an international foundation, which supports national library consortia in approximately fifty transition and developing countries to negotiate and advocate for the wide availability of electronic resources to education, research and professional communities as well as governmental organisations and civil society. This global network embraces millions of users in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.

eIFL.net participating countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Jordan, Kenya, Kosova, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe.