Exploring the Extent of Contractual Override of Core Library Missions

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In 2023 Digital Republic will be exploring the extent of contractual override of core library missions in a study commissioned within the framework of the Knowledge Rights 21 Programme (KR21). 

The growing place of electronic content in libraries’ offers to their users has meant that licences have a crucial role in determining how copyrighted materials can be used to the detriment of libraries’ faculties under copyright law. It is often unclear if specific copyright exceptions can be overridden by contractual means, and where the nature of these statutory exceptions is indeed mandatory and imperative, this can be disregarded by licensing practices. 

The project builds on the British Library contracts study of 2008, It envisages the quantitative evaluation of contracts signed between libraries and publishers/vendors and aims to assess the extent to which these include terms explicitly or implicitly depriving libraries of possibilities created by exceptions and limitations under copyright law. The principal researcher is Ana Lazarova, PhD (Digital Republic/ Sofia University). The final report is due to be published be published by the beginning of June 2023.

The results of the research will allow KR21 to indicate the extent of the issue, and so the need for clear action to safeguard libraries’ and library users’ rights in the face of copyright privatisation.
Digital Republic is also the KR21’s national coordinator for Bulgaria.

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