June 20, 2021

IFLA and Other Library Organizations Respond to Comments About Libraries Made by Hachette Livre CEO

The letter is in response to comments made this week by Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry when he spoke about libraries as proxies for the commercial sector. Links to two media reports (PW and The Bookseller) are found below.

The letter was signed by the following organizations:

  • LIBER (Association of European Research Libraries)
  • IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations)
  • EBLIDA (European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations)
  • EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries)
  • Public Libraries 2020 Programme Director, Reading & Writing Foundation

From an From the Letter

It was a great shame that Hachette Livre CEO Arnaud Nourry chose to target libraries at the International Publishers’ Congress this week, as reported in The Bookseller and Publishers Weekly. In particular, we, the library community, reject entirely the argument that we are proxies for the commercial sector. If libraries are for profit, it is for the profit of human development.

Libraries have a proud tradition of independence. We are there to protect and promote the interests of our users – citizens, creators, students – rather than shareholders.

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It is for that reason that we are calling for limited reforms which will strengthen the legal base on which libraries operate, both within our local communities and, increasingly, globally. Librarians are trained professionals and careful in respecting the law. To fulfil their missions at a national, European and international level, they need a core of basic enforceable exceptions and limitations, suited to the digital age and the opportunities this creates. This would hardly represent the ‘vast exceptions’ Mr Nourry cites.

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Libraries support a balanced copyright system where everyone has access to information and creativity, and authors are fairly rewarded. Authors themselves regularly underline their own support for libraries as places to research, raise awareness of their work, and build a reading culture. It goes without saying that publishers benefit from the vibrant creative economy that we nurture, as well as the billions spent by libraries every year on their output.

The letter goes to say that the library community wants to work with publishers, the EU, and WIPO to work on “limited” copyright reform.

Direct to Full Text of Letter

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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