[AIB]   AIB. Vita dell'Associazione

AIB-WEB   |   Vita dell'Associazione   |   Agenda   |   Comunicati AIB

WIPO proposal for a treaty on exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives

Versione italiana

To The President of the Council of Ministers
Prof. Mario Monti

To the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata

To the Minister of Heritage and Culture
Prof. Lorenzo Ornaghi

To the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture
Dr. Roberto Cecchi

and for information

to The Chairman of the 7th Permanent Commission of the Senate
Guido Possa

to The Chairman of the 7th Commission of the Chamber of Deputies
Valentina Aprea

to the General Director for Libraries, Cultural Institutes and Copyright
Dr. Maurizio Fallace

to The General Director for Archives
Dr. Luciano Scala

to the Chairman of the Standing Advisory Committee on Copyright
Dr. Paolo Marzano

Rome, 21/12/2011 Prot 223/2011

SUBJECT: WIPO proposal for a Treaty on Exceptions and Limitations for Libraries and Archives

Mr. President, Ministers,
we wish to solicit your attention to the debate that has been carried in recent months within WIPO concerning the revision of the International system of exceptions and limitations to copyright for libraries and archives, institutes representing a hub for access to the literary, scientific and technical output.

The theme is strongly connected to the objectives of "smart, sustainable and inclusive growth" of the "Europe 2020" strategy of the European Commission. Since there is no possible development without research and education, libraries and archives play an irreplaceable role to ensure an universal and equitable access to knowledge.

For this reason we express regret over the lack of consultation with associations representing libraries and archives by the Government and for the views expressed by the Italian delegation, which pose a serious question on the existence of a non-commercial circuit of cultural products, guaranteed by the public service.

Since 2008, the World Intellectual Property Organization has conducted surveys on the legislation of member countries and has commissioned several studies on the status of exceptions and limitations to copyright. These studies, and others commissioned by the European Union, have shown the existence of highly heterogeneous rules from state to state, and the fundamental lack of an international framework of guarantees that allow libraries and archives to fulfill effectively their duties in the 21st century.

What are these duties? According to our Cultural Heritage Code and many International and European documents: to collect, organize and provide access to sources of information, in whatever form and wherever located, preserve and enhance the cultural memory, support scientific research, encourage the process of learning and growth of information literacy, and above all allow access to knowledge to all, without exclusions, with competence, professional responsibility and impartiality in the selection and treatment of information and in the service.

Libraries exist to meet user needs that the market can not meet. In the digital world, management and use of library services, collections and archives mutate, but their function is unchanged. They don't propose themselves as an alternative market (and it's really surprising that the deputy of the Italian government said to be worried of a "parallel market-free of charge"), but they represent a guarantee of inclusion and pluralism for all the actors in the information chain. The protection and acknowledgment that we ask for are directly linked to their being an integral and essential part of any development strategy for growth of users and of the cultural market.

So far, the actions of political authorities regarding the protection of culture and documentation of the scientific output focused on copyright protection, giving up the representation of the interests of public sector and users in international bodies. This leds to the growth and strengthening of monopolies, on which the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission has repeatedly investigated, and the inability to overcome the gaps of private initiative and the barriers to the use and reuse of works.

In the absence of adequate counterweights, today the utilization of works for research, teaching, development and promotion of culture is subject to license by copyright owners. In Italy, even reproduction of works made by libraries for conservation purpose is in many cases (always, if provided online by publishers) subject to prior authorization, authorization which may have unsustainable costs, when it is not impossible to obtain because of the unavailability of the owners.

How can the EU recommend to Member States - as it did with the 2011/711/UE Recommendation - the adoption of "an updated set of measures for digitising and bringing cultural heritage online and for digital preservation", to improve access by "creating the legal framework conditions to underpin licensing mechanisms identified and agreed by stakeholders for the large-scale digitisation and cross-border accessibility of works that are out-of-commerce", or - as it did several times since 2006 - urge the adoption of measures in favor of open access to the results of scientific research funded primarily by public bodies, without at the same time feel the need to consider the adequacy of current forms of balance between exclusive rights of intellectual property and other fundamental rights?

From the point of view of libraries, it's the extent and intensity of "normal" commercial exploitation rights assigned by law that has to be reconsidered in relation to the normal rights of access to knowledge for current users and future generations, i.e. in relation to fundamental rights other than copyright and of equal importance.
Based on these considerations, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has produced a treaty proposal to update the "limitations and exceptions" to copyright .

We strongly support this proposal, as well as we support the need for reflection on these issues at National level, involving the Parliament and all interested parties. Unfortunately, from 2008 to date all our attempts to liaise with government authorities have been in vain. The contribution of libraries and archives to research development and knowledge production is sacrificed on the altar of the interests of one party, while all evolution is always deferred to better times, wasting time and public money and damaging the economic growth and the competitiveness of the country.

Mr. President, Honourable Ministers, the new government has raised expectations for a real and positive change in Italy. We ask you to prove it by giving more attention to the questions posed by libraries and archives in order to promote more equitable access to knowledge and research output, in the interest of public service and of all citizens.

Willing to explain in detail our position, best regards.

Stefano Parise
President - AIB Italian Library Association

Marco Carassi
President - ANAI Italian Association of Archivists

Ferruccio Diozzi
President AIDA - Italian Association for Advanced Documentation

Marisa Dalai Emiliani
President - Associazione Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli

Federica Riva
President IAML Italia - Italian Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres

Copyright AIB 2011-12, ultimo aggiornamento 2012-01-04 a cura della Redazione AIB-WEB.
URL: <http://www.aib.it/aib/cen/stampa/c1112b-e.htm>

AIB-WEB   |   Vita dell'Associazione   |   Agenda   |   Comunicati AIB