World Book and Copyright Day 2014: EIFL librarians voice their hopes for copyright
Librarians in 14 EIFL partner countries express their wishes for a modern copyright system that supports library services to end users.

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To celebrate UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April 2014, and WIPO's World IP Day on 26 April 2014 – we asked librarians in EIFL partner countries what they wish for copyright today.

Read what librarians in Armenia, Latvia, Botswana, Kenya, Estonia, Russia, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Senegal, Mongolia, Poland, Ghana and Nigeria said.

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"Libraries provide many modern services such as Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), inter-library document supply, digitization and accessible format materials for visually impaired people. We need modern copyright laws that support our services, and local copyright officials who work closely with librarians to ensure that our voices are heard. We need copyright laws that do not act as barriers, or that prevent libraries from remaining true to their mission to provide access to knowledge for all."

- Hasmik Galystan, Papazian Library, American University Armenia and EIFL-IP coordinator in Armenia




"I wish that copyright would become leaner, more flexible, more fit to the digital reality, and better serving its original purpose – to protect the rightful interests of authors. I hope that the current copyright system - a bloated patchwork of provisions built on top of 130 year old ideas - will eventually make way for a more effective and precise set of tools. And I hope that this change will finally let society see copyright for what it should be - an enabler of creativity, not a limiting and threating force.”

- Uldis Zarins, National Library of Latvia and EIFL-IP coordinator in Latvia





"I wish copyright law could be made such that it enables libraries to provide free and unfettered access to information for all across borders, and in whatever format because access to information is a fundamental human right."

-Kgomotso Radijeng, Botswana National Productivity Centre and EIFL-IP coordinator in Botswana






"My wish is that copyright should be sensitive to the needs of information users. Just as much as it safeguards the interests of rights holders and creators, it should ensure that it does not inhibit dissemination of information to the user community by librarians. This is so because librarians and rights holders need to work together to support creativity and education.”

-Prof. Japhet Otike, Moi university, and EIFL-IP coordinator in Kenya





"Libraries are bridges between knowledge and people. We need to get a real balance between the rights of creators and users that is compatible with the digital age. Creators want to be sure that their rights are protected. At the same time, creators need knowledge for inspiration, and researchers need information for the development of science. Information should be easily accessible with reasonable and affordable conditions for everyone. Digital technologies provide the means to achieve this. If only we can get the balance right.”

-Karmen Linask, National Library of Estonia and and EIFL-IP coordinator in Estonia




"NEICON represents nearly 900 Russian libraries. We do our best to expand exceptions and limitations in copyright law to reach at least the level of EU countries. We expect our government to support the interests of its citizens over big media companies. For nearly two years, we are waiting for Parliament to adopt amendments to the copyright law. But it looks like they have been buried in the corridors of power.”

- Irina Razumova, Deputy Director of Research, NEICON (Russian library consortium) and EIFL-IP coordinator in Russia



"To achieve a copyright system that supports libraries in maximizing access to knowledge, librarians must be smarter in explaining the ideas that underly copyright, and more active in training librarians on how to negotiate fair licence agreements.

To be effective, we must organize joint seminars with authors, publishers, members of parliament, policy makers and lawyers to discuss changing the law to meet society's changing needs."

- Marat Rakhmatullaev, Tashkent University of Information Technologies, and EIFL country coordinator in Uzbekistan.


"We wish that the copyright environment in Uganda is reformed so that it works for the benefit of all. For example, access to textbooks for students in institutions of higher education is quite a problem, accentuated by the lack of fully equipped libraries. It would make a big difference if Uganda's publishing industry embraced new business models such as open access. Then printed textbooks supplied under government schemes could also be made available electronically through libraries under a Creative Commons Uganda Licence. The impact on access to learning resources would be significant and immediate."

- Primah Kwagala, Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development and Florence Lunkuse, Makerere University Business School and EIFL-IP coordinator in Uganda



"I wish that copyright would support the preservation of our cultural heritage and wide access to printed resources for education, research and innovation through expanded copyright exceptions, and, if necessary, the introduction of new exceptions. And that licences for electronic resources do not take away copyright exceptions in national law.”

- Safia Kafikova, Library Director, American University of Central Asia and EIFL-IP coordinator in Kyrgyzstan




"I have a dream...

In my job as a librarian, I am very aware of the critical role of libraries in preserving our cultural and scientific heritage and in providing wide access to knowledge, that is essential to all development.

I dream of the establishment of a set of limitations and exceptions in the copyright law of Sénégal to allow libraries to fully play their role as a "force for change, inspiration, amazement and empowerment", while respecting the rights of authors who are the "creators of emotion".

But as librarians, our vocation is to capture and to pass on the emotion to further inspire, amaze and empower all our people".

- Awa Cissé, University of Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar (UCAD) and EIFL-IP coordinator in Sénégal


"We wish that blind people in Mongolia can have unlimited access to textbooks and educational materials. Publishers prohibit libraries from transforming printed textbooks into accessible formats such as Braille or Daisy, and the law on copyright is unclear. As a result, secondary school students have only a few aged Braille books to read, and university students can only listen to lectures, sometimes converting the lecturer's notes themselves. Copyright should not limit blind people's right to education in this way.”

- Baljid Dashdeleg, Open Society Foundation and EIFL-IP coordinator in Mongolia, and M.Tsengel, DAISY Centre at Ulaanbaatar Public Library (UPL).



"I wish that copyright policy and legislation would return to its roots to become again a great tool to encourage creativity and learning. This goal should have equal treatment in terms of importance and a proper legal foundation in the copyright system."

- Barbara Szczepanska, Information Services Manager, Hogan Lovells Warsaw office and EIFL-IP Poland coordinator.






"The main obstacles to the development of Institutional Repositories in Ghana are copyright restrictions imposed by publishers when authors transfer their rights. I wish librarians would educate authors to negotiate non-exclusive licenses with publishers, so that their works can be made freely available online, and are not locked behind a paywall.

I wish that all librarians would become knowledgeable about copyright to provide much needed support to faculty, researchers and students to empower them to access information without restriction.

I wish all countries would review their copyright laws to keep up with developments in the knowledge age that require people to copy, download, and email documents for teaching, learning and research and for librarians to do their job lending, converting and preserving documents for their users."

- Valentina Bannerman, retired University Librarian and EIFL-IP coordinator in Ghana.


"In Nigeria, we need to raise awareness among librarians, especially in tertiary institutions, about library rights when it comes to photocopying and other services, so that they are prepared for the regular approaches by overzealous collecting societies".

- Rilwanu Abdulsalami, University Librarian, Federal University Wukari, Taraba State Nigeria and EIFL-IP coordinator in Nigeria


Restrictive copyright laws create legal barriers to the access and use of resources for education, research and personal development.

Through the EIFL-IP programme, EIFL advocates for a fair and balanced copyright system that supports libraries in developing and transition countries in maximizing access to knowledge in the digital environment.

We build capacity in copyright issues and advocacy in our partner consortia. We produce unique resources on topical issues, which are translated into many languages. We also play a leadership role in promoting national and international copyright law reform.