May 16, 2022

Updated: WIPO Study on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives

A new post on InfoJustice (a blog and cooperative web site hosted by the American University Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property) alerts us to an updated report prepared by Ken Crews for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (29th Session) scheduled to take place in Geneva, December 8 to 12, 2014.

From the Blog Post/Introduction to the Report:

A study of copyright exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives, commissioned by the World Intellectual Property Organization and delivered in 2008, provided a foundation for the subsequent consideration and evaluation of the issues by delegates from the WIPO member states.

The original study was conducted by Dr. Kenneth D. Crews on behalf of WIPO, and he was again commissioned to be the principal investigator for the present 2014 report. This report offers a significant update and expansion of the 2008 study. First, the combined 2008 and 2014 studies offer analysis of the copyright laws from all but one of the WIPO member countries. Second, this 2014 project identifies countries that have revised their relevant statutes since completion of the 2008 report. These statutory revisions confirm an ongoing need for legal change and reveal specifically the relevant copyright issues on which lawmakers in diverse countries have taken legislative attention.


Library exceptions are clearly fundamental to the copyright law of most countries. Of the 186 member countries, only 33 were identified as having no copyright exception in their statutes. Thus, 153 of the countries have one or more statutes that constitute a “library exception” within the scope of this study. The statutory library exceptions primarily address issues such as reproduction of copyrighted works for private research and study, preservation and replacement of materials, and document supply and interlibrary lending. Some issues that were prevalent in the 2008 study have not appeared frequently in more recent statutes. For example, the 2008 study examined statutes governing copying machines at the library and limitations on liabilities for infringements. This 2014 update reveals that relatively few countries have taken up these issues in their recent legislation.

Read the Complete Blog Post

Direct to Full Text Report (212 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.