Treaty Proposal on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives

IFLA is working with WIPO Member States to gain support for a binding international instrument on copyright limitations and exceptions to enable libraries to preserve their collections, support education and research, and lend materials.

To demonstrate what is needed, IFLA, together with the International Council on Archives (ICA), Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) and Corporación Innovarte, has produced the Treaty Proposal on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives, TLIB, to guide WIPO's Member States in updating limitations and exceptions for libraries worldwide.

TLIB is intended as a constructive proposal to feed into the discussions at WIPO.

The limitations and exceptions mandated by the Treaty proposal are based on a set of principles that were developed in 2009 by librarians, intellectual property specialists, the World Blind Union, and representatives of other civil society NGOs.

It governs the use of all copyright works and also of all materials protected by related rights, according to national law. It applies to materials in any format, digital and non-digital.

The Treaty proposal covers:

  • Parallel importation (i.e buying books from abroad)
  • Cross-border uses of works and materials reproduced under a limitation and exception
  • Library lending
  • Library document supply
  • Preservation of library and archival materials
  • Use of works and other material under related rights for the benefit of persons with disabilities
  • Use of works for education, research and private study
  • Use of works for personal and private purposes
  • Access to retracted and withdrawn works 
  • Orphan works

It also proposes:

  • Obligation to respect exceptions to copyright and related rights
  • Obligations concerning Technological Protection Measures
  • Limitation on liability for libraries and archives

The Treaty proposal suggests a basic foundation for all countries, setting out a framework for national copyright laws that is flexible and consistent with existing international law. It does not seek to impose harmonisation or a ‘one size fits all' approach.

It has been designed to accommodate common needs as well as differentiation according to levels of development and particularities of WIPO Member States. Although the proposal makes it mandatory to address certain key issues, in most cases there is flexibility for implementation, using the international standard of "fair practice" as set out in the Berne Convention.

Last update: 29 November 2017