Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Polish Copyright Law Accomplishes What US Is Trying To Do Via Litigation

The Polish have figured something out that the United States can't seem to get right. While the United States is slowly allowing digitization of print after long, drawn-out litigation, (i.e., HathiTrust & Google Books), the Polish have revised their copyright law to account for the digitization of materials.

The new Polish Copyright Act enters into force on 20th November 2015 bringing library services in Poland into the twenty-first century.

Major new provisions enabling digitization for socially beneficial purposes, such as education and preservation of cultural heritage, are the centrepiece for libraries of the new law.

The law also implements a European Directive enabling the use of orphan works (in-copyright works where the copyright holder cannot be identified or found to obtain permission), and an EU Memorandum of Understanding on the use of works that are no longer commercially available. In addition, the introduction of public lending right is limited to works in public libraries.

As a result, library services in Poland can be said to have entered the twenty-first century. Crucially, the library community participated for the first time in high-level policy discussions on copyright, and librarians became recognized as important stakeholders in a national reform process.

This is a wonderful step forward to allow access to information and potentially pave the way for a global library. United States - take note!

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