Libraries Decry Digital Locks

A meeting at the World Intellectual Property Organization last week on a possible international treaty or international instrument that would enable libraries and archives to better preserve cultural heritage and better enable access to information by people around the world ended in stalemate.

The Twenty Seventh Session of WIPO's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights
Photo: WIPO – Emmanuel Berrod

This outcome was unfortunate for developing countries as well as library and archive NGOs who feel the direct pressure of the rigidity of national intellectual property laws. On behalf of the Canadian Library Association, Margaret Ann Wilkinson made a statement at the meetings, noting that since 2012 “Canadian libraries’ abilities to meet the needs of our users have been compromised through the recent introduction into Canadian law of legal protection for Technological Protection Measures and Digital Rights Management” (IFLA).

Wilkinson concluded that:

an international treaty with a provision declaring states must legislate such that libraries and archives can circumvent Technological Protection Measures in order to exercise their statutory limitations and exceptions to the rights of the rights holders will restore balance. Such a treaty will allow libraries and archives, including Canadian libraries and archives, to serve their important public interest function.