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The voice of Libraries in Europe!

The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations is an independent umbrella association of library, information, documentation and archive associations and institutions in Europe.

"Lobbying for Libraries"

Press Release Licences 4 Europe Plenary on 13 November

13 November 2013

[PDF version]

The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) calls on the European Commission to open in‐depth discussions on copyright reform as the

Licences for Europe process fails to address key concerns of libraries and their users.

BRUSSELS, 13 NOVEMBER 2013 – On the occasion of today's Licences for Europe (L4E)  plenary meeting EBLIDA calls upon the European Commission to acknowledge the lack of concrete results from the  Licences for Europe process, and the need for urgent copyright reform.

Since the beginning of the process, EBLIDA has warned about the risk of an incomplete dialogue narrowly focusing on licences where the whole process should have embraced copyright reform as a whole1.

Although licensing has an important role to play, it cannot be the only solution for the many issues discussed during Licensing for Europe. There should have been enough openness in the discussion to propose alternatives to licensing solutions when market and/or technology based solutions prove to undermine the users’ rights to access and store digital content.

As a result, the eight months process in avoiding the salient issue of copyright reform has proved to be unsuccessful. Because of a narrow pre‐determined agenda, it was not possible to ensure that users' views were heard in these discussions, and that their concerns and demands were voiced properly.

Exceptions and limitations to copyright aim to balance the exclusive rights of the rights holders with other fundamental rights, and should be considered an essential part of the copyright framework. Under the current copyright regime, they are often overridden by licences that un‐ dermine the rights of users. This reality creates a distorted balance of rights that needs to be ad‐ dressed in order to create a flexible copyright regime.

There is no need to further postpone in depth discussions on copyright reform. On the contrary, the time for copyright reform at the European level has come. We expect the Commission’s forthcoming review of the European copyright acquis to take full account of the needs of Euro‐ pean libraries and archives.2

EBLIDA will be pleased to fully participate in this review in a meaningful way and offers its ex‐ pertise to work on copyright reform to better serve European citizens via a vibrant and up‐to‐ date digital environment for libraries.

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1 Letter of  26 February 2013: Licences for Europe - A Stakeholder Dialogue" text and data mining for scientific research purposes working group;
letter of 3 April: The scope of Working Group 1, Licences for Europe;
letter of 26 May 2013: Commission response to stakeholder letter on Licences4Europe text and data mining.

2 http://ec.europa.eu/governance/impact/planned_ia/docs/2014_markt_005_copyright_aquis_en.pdf

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