Why a modern society needs to defend libraries?

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Global debates are defining minimum conditions that will affect the right of access to knowledge and culture, due to unbalanced copyright protections. Library users, libraries and librarians should be trained to defend them.

Public library seeks to provide equal opportunities in access to information, knowledge, recreation, culture, education, reading and writing for all their users. However, there are currently no minimum guarantees that allow libraries and archives carrying out activities related to their mission such as lending books or changing the format of a film (e.g. VHS to digital) for preservation purposes. For decades, protections for authors and/or rightsholders have been increased, while the guarantees of access and inclusion of copyright balances are at the mercy of political will.

This imbalance occurs especially in developing countries, as many developed countries have already generated standards seeking to better balance copyright. Facing this reality, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is discussing the need to implement guarantees to ensure that libraries and archives can legally fulfill its mission of providing access to knowledge, culture, education and science, as well as preserving cultural heritage.

Despite the evident need, the discussions are complex: on the one hand, countries like Brazil, Ecuador and Uruguay of the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) show the imbalance in their proposals, while the European Union countries, for instance, are trying to block the discussion in order to compromise other countries with a mandatory solution for libraries.

Amalia Toledo, Karisma Foundation’s researcher and who has attended the last two meetings in Geneva, said that “Civil society participation is an oversight work around the discussions and decisions that are taking place internationally, as directly affect the exercise of the fundamental rights of all of us.”

The international discussion makes clear that both librarians and users, and top management of libraries and archives should strengthen their knowledge on copyright and challenges posing for the circulation of bibliographic information in the 21st century.

Thinking of this, Karisma Foundation, in collaboration with national chapters of Creative Commons in ColombiaEl Salvador and Uruguay, came together to work on a course aimed to the library community in the region. The free, open and online course “ABC of copyright for librarians in Latin America” is a tool designed to strengthen the understanding of basic copyright concepts through example, analysis and openness model, based in Latin American cases and legislation.  The material, adapted from EIFL’s Copyright for Librarians, is available online through School of Open project for anyone who wants to take a self-guided course, or wants to take advantage of tutorials that will be offered between June and August through theinternetactiva.net platform, where it will be officially launched.

Who can participate in the course and tutorials?

Librarians, university researchers, teachers, producer of educational content, students of information science and/or librarianship, archivists, museum curators, persons interested in cultural preservation projects and, in general, persons interested in libraries and copyright.

Where will it be held?

“ABC of copyright for librarians in Latin America” is part of the global platform School of Open, coordinated by Creative Commons and P2PU, and will be online since June 4, 2014. The official launch will be done through the internetactiva.net platform on the said date at 1700h (Colombian time | UTC-5). To participate in the launch event, you must fill out this form. However, note that the course does NOT require registration as each person can access and take the course according to the self-guided methodology chosen.

Contact:info@internetactiva.net   
In social networks #ABCDerAutor.

* This project was the winner of The Frida 2013 Award- Star-up, the Creative Commons Project Grant 2013 and has the support of the Shuttleworth Foundation thanks to a grant awarded to Carolina Botero.

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