Core Library Exceptions Checklist to Benefit Global Copyright Law?

EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) is a not-for-profit organization that works with libraries to enable access to knowledge in developing and transition economy countries in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America. Their mission is to enable access to knowledge through libraries in developing and transition countries to support sustainable development.

They recently developed a Core Library Exceptions Checklist, freely available on their website through a Creative Commons licence. The EIFL Core Library Exceptions Checklist sets out provisions that every copyright law should have to support modern library activities and services, such as lending, making an electronic copy of a journal article or book chapter for a user, providing library material for use in virtual learning environments, and undertaking digital preservation.

The checklist, in two parts, first featuring library activities and services, the second part dealing with issues affecting the scope and efficacy of the exceptions, is also companied by a scorecard to grade how the law performs for libraries.

In parallel to WIPO’s study on copyright limitations and exceptions for libraries, archives, educational and research institutions, this checklist is a practical tool that will benefit libraries and their users, and will hopefully result in globally improved copyright laws.



Photo: Emmanuel Berrod – WIPO

Open Access Policy newly implemented at WIPO

WIPO takes a step further in the promotion international access to knowledge. The organization announced this month that it is adopting an Open Access Policy in support of its commitment to the sharing and dissemination of knowledge, and to make its publications easily available to the widest possible audience.

Under this policy, WIPO facilitates free access to online content and publications under WIPO’s name, and also minimizes the conditions and restrictions placed on the use of its content.

Unless specified otherwise in particular terms of use, anyone is free to reproduce, distribute, adapt, translate and publicly perform content published online under WIPO’s name, provided that such use is accompanied by an acknowledgement that WIPO is the source, and clearly indicates if changes are made to the original content.

To implement this access, WIPO will use the suite Creative Commons Intergovernmental Organizations (IGO) licenses, an online licensing system developed in 2013 in collaboration with several international organizations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

New WIPO publications published on or after November 15, 2016 and a selection of existing publications have been licensed under the CC-BY 3.0 IGO license or one of the other licenses in the Creative Commons IGO suite.  WIPO publications available under Creative Commons licenses will be clearly identified and searchable within the publications area of the WIPO website. Previous publications will be made available on a case-by-case basis.

Through this new policy, WIPO is supporting open archive initiatives that promote the dissemination of content through interoperability standards and efficient licensing schemes.

Call for Contributors

Got an article idea? Interested in intellectual property and copyright? WIPO Monitor is seeking article contributors and would like to see academics, researchers, industry professionals and students all represented in our pages. WIPO Monitor especially welcomes submissions from Countries of the South and developing country representatives; from indigenous peoples; from educational, research organization, library, archives and museum communities; and from communities of people with disabilities. WIPO Monitor currently focuses on several WIPO committees: the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP), the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), and the WIPO General Assembly.  It welcomes submissions and updates from activities in any of these forums, as well as related submissions.

WIPO Monitor is a project supervised by the Network Communications Governance Lab at McMaster University. Through this site, we seek to research and monitor developments in international copyright policy, as well as provide a an informative, critical, and comprehensive venue for readers to discover and keep themselves up-to-date in the affairs of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Some of the most pressing questions in international IP today include its growing role in developing countries and indigenous communities, and in educational, research, library, archival, and museum organizations.  We ask how the international system might seek to become more responsive to the needs of developing nations, people with disabilities, and educational, research, library, archival, and museum organizations. We feel it is important that these discussions about the future directions of international intellectual property take place in within a context of informed analysis. We also believe that it is paramount that awareness of these discussions be raised among all relevant stakeholders, and not merely among industry professionals.

Our goal is to feature practical articles and reviews on WIPO’s agenda and frequent meetings. Our readers seek to more effectively understand the various topics and discussions happening behind WIPO’s doors. While we are interested in a wide variety of IP issues, we tend to focus on copyright provisions, access to knowledge, traditional knowledge and sustainable development.


If you wish to contribute, please contact Sara Bannerman, Associate Professor at McMaster University, at sara.bannerman[at]

Upcoming agenda of next week’ SCCR

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) meets this upcoming November 14 to November 18.  Several topics are on the agenda for discussion, including limitations and exceptions for libraries and archives. The last four topics outlined in this working document are slated for discussion:

  • 1. Limitations on liability for libraries and archives (Topic 8 p.40):  the committee will discuss a proposed text to protect librarians and archivists from criminal liability and copyright infringement when they perform their duties in good faith.


  • 2. Technological measures of protection (Topic 9 p.43): The committee will discuss proposals that would ensure that libraries and archives could circumvent digital locks where necessary to carry out the actions permitted under the proposed international instrument. The government of India notes that “when we are extending limitation exceptions given to the Libraries, there is a need for giving or allowing them to circumvent the technological protection measures but the care should be taken that it should not lead to piracy.” (p. 43)

These two texts are of importance, as in the current context, “copyright exceptions and limitations are increasingly undermined by licensing practices and the use of technological protection measures that prevent libraries and archives from performing their functions.”



  • 4. Right to translate works (Topic 11 p.48): Article 8 of the Berne Convention already provides that authors enjoy the exclusive right of making and of authorizing the translation of their works. The proposed text presented at WIPO will discuss proposals for an international norm for the right to translate, permitting translation for the purposes of “teaching, scholarship or research” when the original is lawfully acquired and the work is not available in the language required. Publishers and authors are likely to object to these proposals.


These proposed texts have been on the agenda since 2013. As discussed in one of our previous posts, these proposals, if ensured, could free libraries, archives, educational and research institutions from copyright provisions that hamper their ability to make use of copyright works.


Photo: WIPO – Emmanuel Berrod.

Universalizing fair use: An important Argentinian proposal


Photo: WIPO – Emmanuel Berrod.

The government of Argentina has submitted an important proposal in current negotiations towards an international instrument on limitations and exceptions to copyright at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Most international treaties seek to establish minimum standards. In the case of the current WIPO negotiations, relating to exceptions and limitations to copyright for education and research institutions and persons with disabilities, this means that all countries would agree to permit a minimum set of things, such as permitting photocopying for classroom use or reproduction for classroom display.

As the Argentinian government notes, this often does not go far enough, especially in the online context, since countries invariably differ widely in their implementation of such minimum standards, and digital transactions often involve multiple country jurisdictions.

Many everyday actions done in the context of educational institutions potentially involve multiple jurisdictions, and could be legal in one jurisdiction but not in the other:

  • playing an Internet video from a web site based in one country in the classroom of another;
  • uses of works in distance education, where students may be based in a different country from the instructor;
  • downloading works from a web site in another country for educational purposes;
  • making available or sending articles, texts, or digital course packs from one country to another.

Understanding the legality of any of these actions, along with many others, currently involves expensive legal analysis of the copyright regimes of multiple countries–an untenable situation for educational institutions, as the Argentinian government notes.

Argentina therefore proposes that “within the scope of a treaty on limitations and exceptions, lawful conduct in one territory should not be illegal in another. If reproduction or making available is valid under the treaty, it cannot then be invalid under the rules of another State jurisdiction.” (p. 4). The exact wording of the proposal is as follows:
Where performed in accordance with the exceptions and limitations set forth in this agreement, the reproduction or making available of a work shall be governed by the law of the country in which the reproduction or making available occur, without precluding the reproduced work from being delivered to or used by a person or institution benefitting from exceptions and limitations located in another Member State, provided that such delivery or use is consistent with the terms and conditions set forth in this agreement. (p. 4).
The Argentinian government has proposed a solution worthy of serious discussion at the WIPO meeting to be held next week.

[Original post available here]