US Intervention at WIPO SCCR: Libraries, Archives…and Museums

Here is the US intervention during the discussion on limitations and exceptions for libraries and exceptions:

The United States is pleased to participate in this discussion of this important topic of preservation by Libraries and Archives. As we noted in our objectives and principles it is important for WIPO Member States to encourage the development of Limitations and Exceptions that enable Libraries and Archives to carry out their public service role of preserving works while leaving flexibility to each country and how best to do so consistent with its international obligations. […]
Under Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act Libraries and Archives are permitted to make and distribute copies of materials for specified purposes under specified conditions. Under 108 B, for example, a library or archive is permitted to make several copies of an unpublished work for preservation or security or deposit for research use in another library if the work is currently in the collection of the library making the copy.

Section 108 also provides that if copies are made for preservation or replacement of library materials, the scope of materials is broad. A library may make copies of manuscripts, pictures, sound recordings, and any other works. We note section 108 was revised in 1998 to address the digital technologies of the day. New challenges of course arose in the next decade. The Library of Congress, national digital information infrastructure and preservation programme in cooperation with the U.S. copyright office, convened a section 108 Study Group to review possible updates to our exception. The final report of this group was published in 2008.

Among other things, the report identified challenges with respect to digital Meanwhile, developments continue in this area because of the many changes occurring in our environment, especially the digital environment, over the past five years the copyright office in collaboration with Colombia University held a symposium this year to continue to review possible updates to the current law.

So it is clear that this is a quickly evolving area as technology evolves as well. We have reviewed the comments of other Member States who also have noted the importance of and challenges with preservation of digital materials. We also took note of the written comment of the United Kingdom, inquiring whether or not museums should also be added to the list of Libraries and Archives in order to enable them to preserve materials. The United States identified this particular issue within the objectives and principles circulated during SCCR 23.

The United States government, including the U.S. patent and trademark office, copyright office, and the institute of museum and library services, continue to review the existing legislative framework with a view to making it possible for Libraries and Archives to meet current and future challenges in preservation.

We look forward in this forum to exchanging views with other Member States as they continue to develop their frameworks as well.