LIBER calls for open access to knowledge during the pandemic

Today, 14 April 2020, LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries) published a statement, calling upon EU Member States’ governments, European Commissioners, publishers, authors and their trade bodies to enable open and remote access to educational and research materials in order to properly react to changes introduced with the new coronavirus pandemic.

As public life almost completely halted and moved online, education and research world flipped on its head practically overnight. Attending lectures in person or accessing materials in libraries are suddenly not possible anymore, which clearly demonstrates that an appropriate reaction of copyright regulation is in order if educational and research institutions are to continue fulfilling their mission of disseminating knowledge.

For this reason, LIBER today published the statement emphasising that the current regulation of copyright is unable to properly deal with the existing situation and calling for enabling remote access to materials for researchers and educational institutions.

In its statement, LIBER firstly addressed the European Commission and governments of EU Member States, urging them to ensure access to copyrighted materials for public libraries and research institutions by providing a time-limited and purposive interpretation of Article 5 of the new Copyright Directive. Additionally, LIBER calls upon publishers, authors and their trade bodies to publicly pledge to enable remote access to their e-books and use of copyrighted works aimed solely at students, teachers and researchers for a limited time. Lastly, LIBER pointed to inadequacy of copyright laws for dealing with emergency situations, such as medical, environmental or economic crisis, and underlined the importance of transition to Open Access models as soon as possible.

You can read the statement in full here.

It is worth noting that LIBER is not the only organization to call for an appropriate reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic in the recent weeks. Recently, Communia sent an open letter to WIPO (IPI is amongst the signatories), urging WIPO to ensure broad access to copyrighted materials.