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62nd IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 25-31, 1996

European Copyright User Platform

Emanuella Giavarra, Project Director


Today I would like to inform you about a very exciting project in the field of copyright. For the first time, at a European level, libraries have taken the lead in discussing with authors, publishers and collecting societies the exceptions under copyright for the use of electronic information. These exceptions are defined in every European legislation differently. In the UK the concept is call ed "fair dealing", in most of the other European countries it refers to the copying for private use, research and educational purposes.

There exists a lot of uncertainty among librarians on what they are allowed to do with electronic information in respect of copyright. A complicating factor is that the authors and the publishers have not made up their minds yet on what they should allow. A first step in identifying the copyright problems, which the new technologies pose for libraries, was set by the Directorate General XIII/E 4 of the European Commission (DGXIII/E-4). They organised a concertation meeting on 29 November 1993 in Luxembourg. The meeting raised many important issues and problems that needed to be solved in the near future. It appeared that libraries are at a clear information disadvantage in respect of copyright. The European Bureau of Library, Documentation and Information Associations (EBLIDA) offer ed assistance and was granted funding by DG XIII/E-4 for one year to set up the European Copyright User Platform (ECUP) and to conduct a Copyright Awareness Campaign for Librarians. The ECUP project started on 28 October 1994. The Platform consists of 38 full members of EBLIDA, which are national library, information and documentation associations. A special Steering Group was set up to co-ord inate and evaluate the results of the project. First I would like to inform you on the results of the ECUP project, before I will introduce to you the follow-up Concerted Action.

The objectives of the ECUP project were:

To connect the awareness raising and the identification of the copyright problems 14 workshops were organised in the Member States of the European Union (EU) and one in Norway.

Three Steering Group meetings were held in which the "Library Position on Electronic Services" was drawn up and schematically put in a matrix. The matrix lists a variety of library activities which are free to use by the end user for which the end user should pay. The ECUP Position Paper and the matrix should be seen as a first step in defining user rights for the use of electronic in formation. The following principles are underlying the Position Paper: the mission of a library is to guarantee access to a maximum amount of information to their users; copyright protects the legitimate rights of the rights owners, however it should not frustrate technical developments or access to information; libraries wish to destroy the misunderstanding that they are not willing to pay a r easonable remuneration for copyright-protected information under certain conditions; library services complement rather than compete with publishers' activities; libraries are willing to implement legal and technical safeguards to comply with contractual limitations, but libraries cannot be held responsible for the intentions of the end user once they have acquired the information.

The ECUP position was discussed on 10 July 1995 with the representatives of Elsevier Science, Academic Press, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Blackwell Science, Chadwyck-Healey, International Group of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and International Publishers Copyright Council (IPCC). One of the subjects which immediately started a discu ssion was the issue of Inter-Library Lending (ILL). According to the publishers ILL should be treated in the same way as Electronic Document Delivery (EDD) and should not be a free activity. ILL should not be recognised in an electronic environment. It was stressed that the implied sharing is the largest problem.

The results of the discussions can be best summarized by the statement the publishers presented at the end of the meeting. As an introduction it was stressed that they only represent the opinion of the attending representatives and that they were not speaking on behalf of the whole industry. They expressed their willingness to co-operate, not on the basis of a code of good practice, but by mean s of a model contract. They became more aware of the problems libraries are dealing with and would like to be involved in further discussions.

The Statement was not addressed to the matrix because that would be a totally different discussion. The representatives were willing to discuss the matrix within their organisations and in the Working Group of European Librarians and Publishers (ELP). The following Statement was produced: "The electronic delivery of information significantly changes the commercial relationship between pub lishers and user groups. Electronic uses of copyright material will be facilitated by individual contracts between publishers and user groups, including librarians. Such contracting will allow for EDD directly from publishers to users and this excludes Inter-Library EDD carried out in the name of ILL. One way forward might be the development of a model contract between publishers and user grou ps." It was stressed that this Statement reflected the future towards electronic publishing and not the situation at the present time. The Steering Group felt that the meeting and the discussion on the matrix was a first step in the right direction.

The ECUP project came to an end in October 1995. In order to continue the discussions with the rights owners additional funding was asked for under the first Call for Proposals of the Libraries Programme under the Forth Framework Programme. Recently DGXIII/E-4 granted EBLIDA funding to continue the ECUP project in the form of a Concerted Action for 3 years. The project started on 15 January 199 6. The concept of the ECUP is more or less the same. New is the creation of a "one stop shop" for copyright questions. The objectives are:

The ECUP Concerted Action is organised along 5 workpackages:

Workpackage 1 - Library position on electronic services

Meetings will be organised with representatives of rights owners organisations and collecting societies to further discuss the library privileges in electronic services and model licensing clauses defined by the Steering Group.

Workpackage 2 - Awareness raising

Workshops will be held to continue making librarians aware of copyright and to introduce the discussed library position on electronic services defined by the Steering Group and the results achieved at the meetings with the rights owners and the collecting societies.

Workpackage 3 - Copyright Focal Point

A Copyright Focal Point will be set up and will deliver the following services: a moderated discussion list on European copyright issues; consultancy; access via WWW to documents on European copyright law and legislation in preparation. The focal point is aiming to function as a "one stop shop" for European copyright developments. The discussion list will start in February. More info rmation is available via I'm Europe: http://www.echo.lu/libraries/en/libraries.html.

Workpackage 4 - Legislative recommendations

The Steering Group will come together after the discussions with the rights owners and the collecting societies to define legislative recommendations for the library position on electronic to be lobbied for with the national legislators. The Steering Group has a different composition than the Steering Group of the ECUP project. Reason for this is that we wanted to include representatives of LIBE R and IFLA. The Steering Group consists of the following members: Mr Graham Cornish, British Library (BLDSC), UK; Dr Reinhard Ecker, Beilstein Institut, Germany; Mr Robbert Fisher, European Commission, Luxembourg; Ms Emanuella Giavarra, EBLIDA; Prof Elmar Mittler, LIBER; Mrs Sandy Norman, IFLA Ms; Sarah Pelcener, INIST, France; Mr Heikki Poroila, Vantaa City Library, Finland; Mrs Elspet h Scott, Glaxo Wellcome, UK; Mr Josep Sort, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain; Mr Dirk Visser, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

The Steering Group has met representatives of authors organizations, collecting societies and larger publishing houses on 11-12 March 1996 in London. The second round of meetings will take place on 10-11 June 1996. I will update you on the results when we meet in Beijing. A copy of the ECUP report is available at the EBLIDA secretariat, P O Box 43300, 2504 AH The Hague, The Netherlands. For more information please send an email to secr@dial.pipex.com.