KEI statement on library exceptions at WIPO SCCR 28 | Knowledge Ecology International
"These are the notes from my statement on behalf of KEI on July 3, 2014, during the WIPO SCCR 28 discussions of principles and objectives for library copyright exceptions. The WIPO discussions on July 3 focused on the four topics in the US paper, SCCR/26/8 ... Libraries are facing a crisis, because the pricing of journals and academic publications is going through the roof. It is not as if libraries were free loaders, they spent about $25 billion in content purchases in 2011 and they represent 70% of the global market for academic publications. There is a problem related to collective action. Each publisher has a micro incentive to get as much money as they can from libraries. Collectively, the effects of restrictive licenses and contracts, digital locks and high prices is that people that fund libraries are beginning to doubt whether it makes sense to do so. Governments and other library funding entities ask, is there good value for money? As prices increase and contracts and locks restrict access, the social benefit/cost ratio suffers. This leads to reductions the amount of funding available for libraries. In the end of the day, the publishers will be hurt the most of reduced funding of libraries. To the extent that authors are paid anything by publishers, reductions on library funding will lead to reductions in their incomes. And, for authors who rely upon libraries to write, to create, to discover new information and ideas, and to create research services that people will pay for, the threats to the libraries are threats to them as well. Authors have much more at stake than the fact that exceptions reduce exclusive rights. Exceptions are used to take the hard edges off what is increasingly a brutal market for works, and to make the system work better, for everyone. Now if you look at the U.S. document, it calls for the adoption of national exceptions. We know, from several WIPO studies, that in many countries there are inadequate (or no) copyright exceptions for libraries. So, if the objective is for countries to adopt exceptions, what is the road-map to make things happen? What will be the role of WIPO or this committee to solve the problems? ..."