|Title:||How well did copyright law serve libraries during COVID-19?|
|Author(s):||International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)|
|Citation:||IFLA. (2022). How well did copyright law serve libraries during COVID-19?|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) sent to their members and affiliates a survey on the copyright challenges faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the responses were between 114 and 88 for all the questions. Moreover, 28 library professionals were interviewed.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||Yes|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
This study reports all the covid-related challenges that library professionals faced during the lockdowns, although some of the issues were consistent even before the pandemic. Based on its findings, the report argues that the law presents noticeable gray zones with regard to what content can be shared and accessed, and thus there is the need “for clarified legal protections for libraries and the services they offer, in particular when working across borders”.
Main Results of the Study
83% of the respondents stated that they faced significant copyright-related issues with regard to providing materials during the lockdowns. This situation was deeply related to other significant issues that have been identified even before the pandemic: “budget pressures, external financial crises, difficult negotiations with publishers, and demand for eBooks that outpaces publisher offerings”. In particular, the access to academic materials remained quite expensive, and although in the first stage of the pandemic many publishers granted access to services and content in an expansive way, the span of time when this occurred was not enough for libraries to integrate such offers in their systems. Another significant challenge was the access to digital content. Indeed, many respondents faced the issue of providing access internationally due to different licenses and technical infrastructures in different countries to access such digital materials. Libraries tried to rely on legal guidance, although laws presented noticeable “gray zones” that made extremely difficult to the library professionals to understand how this content could be actually shared.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
This report – as stated by IFLA itself in the introduction – highlights the need for policymakers to offer clear legal guidelines, in terms of accessing and sharing digital content for libraries and providing such access for publishers.
Coverage of Study