Federation of Ontario Public Libraries

Around the World

Many copyright statutes have special provisions for libraries and archives (and some, such as Canada’s, “bundle” the provisions for libraries, archives and museums), but each country has its own specific provisions and excepted uses that don’t require obtaining permission from copyright holders. In some countries where such provisions exist, the provisions are outdated and may only apply to traditional media (such as print books) and not to digital media. In some countries in Africa and Latin America, there are no special provisions for libraries and archives in their copyright laws.

In 2008, Kenneth Crews researched and wrote a WIPO study on library exemptions from copyright law, “Study on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives.” The study was updated in in 2014, and again in 2015 based on the results of a survey of 188 WIPO member countries. The following highlights summarize the information in the 2015 study:

•   32 countries do not have specific library and archive provisions

•   31 countries have a general provision solely for libraries

•   28 countries have provisions for research or study

•   99 countries have provisions for preservation

•   90 countries have provisions for replacing deteriorating originals that are no longer available for purchase

•   21 countries have provisions for document supply

•   9 countries have provisions for interlibrary loan

•   52 countries have provisions for libraries to circumvent technological protection measures.

This updated study sets out the specifics of each country’s copyright provisions for libraries and archives, beginning with Afghanistan and ending with Zimbabwe (on page 451!). For those interested in this topic, it’s a thorough and fascinating study. It’s also worthwhile for you to compare your own country with one or two others to see how your country fits within the international arena. Click here to see the full study.

In May 2017 during WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR/34), the Committee agreed to update this study. We’ll share details as they’re available.

Learn how to write your own copyright policy or guidelines in our eTutorial, Developing A Copyright Policy or Guidelines, and consider the fully online program, the Copyright Leadership Certificate.