Meeting with European Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society Günther H. Oettinger in Brussels06 March 2015
On 19 February EBLIDA President Klaus-Peter Böttger attended a high-level meeting with European Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society Günther H. Oettinger in Brussels on copyright reform — calling for an update of the European Copyright Acquis to deliver fair access to information for European libraries and their patrons.
Read Klaus-Peter Böttger’s intervention below:
EBLIDA represents Europe’s library associations, i.e. approximately 70.000 libraries of every type all around Europe being annually frequented by over 100 million visitors. European citizens have access to the world of media and information both in physical and digital formats.
EBLIDA is mindful of the work that the EU Commission has done on Orphan Works as well as being aware of the changes brought about the digital era for the book and the audiovisual sector. EBLIDA is, like Commissioner Oettinger, interested in a well-balanced system where creators and users are considered to have equivalent rights to those that they benefit from in the analogue world.
Libraries are supportive of a balanced copyright regime where licences are not the only answer.
To be able to fulfill their mission in the digital era with digital information and services then libraries cannot rely on unfair terms and conditions decided by the licensor only.
Libraries want to provide their users with the latest e-books as they do printed books!
They want to buy e-books at fair prices and on reasonable terms!
And authors should receive fair remuneration for the lending of e-books to the public.
So that all citizens benefit from free access to e-books in libraries!
What worked quite well with exhaustion rights in the physical world, including lending, should also work and be possible in the digital world, especially with regard to e-books in public libraries. But that means we need a clear copyright law that enables libraries to fulfil their enduring mission into the 21st century of providing all EU citizens with access to the riches of human knowledge and imagination whether in the library, offsite or online.
Public libraries must be able to choose between:
- Buying e-books (files) to be stored on the library's server and downloaded to a reading device for use by the patron. In this case, exhaustion would apply as it does in the analogue world since upon the sale a transfer of ownership takes place, and the lending would be regulated by the national implementations of the Rental and Lending Directive.
- Subscribing to access points in the supplier's database for their patrons. In this case ‘Mandatory Fair Licenses’ should apply.
So in this context it is necessary to update the European Copyright Acquis to deliver fair access to information for European libraries and their patrons.
In order to move from the current unsatisfactory licensing offer to libraries to a regime of ‘Mandatory Fair Licences’ there are 7 points to address:
- Provisions are introduced to the Directive 2001/29/EC, or by means of a new Directive, to prevent contract terms and technological protection measures from undermining statutory exceptions and limitations permitted within the EU or its Member States by rendering such clauses null and void. (Precedents exist in the Database and Software Directives and in certain Member-States’ legislation.
- Removal of technological protection measures is made compulsory for all legitimate uses.
- Exceptions and limitations of Directive 2001/29/EC related to libraries and archives and for the purposes of education and research are made mandatory
- A new mandatory exception is introduced granting libraries the ‘right to lend’ (including ‘e-lend’ remotely) any work in any format.
- An open ‘fair use’ norm is introduced to enable exceptions and limitations to keep pace with technological changes within the existing copyright framework.
- Libraries are granted a ‘right to acquire’ at normal market prices any work legitimately made available to the public (including the right to acquire digital files) so that transfer of ownership takes place and the principle of exhaustion applies.
- Licence terms and conditions support libraries’ missions and activities and follow EBLIDA’s key principles on the acquisition and access to e-books.
EBLIDA is convinced that the commission will be successful in creating the balance and will not leave libraries behind the digital age.
< back to overview