Resource of the Month: ICA Copyright Declaration by the Expert Group on Legal Matters (EGLM)

For this month resource of the month, we wanted to highlight the ICA Copyright Declaration from EGLM (Expert Group on Legal Matters) 

This resource is available in English, French and a new Spanish version was created. 

We have written a brief summary of this resource giving you an idea of its content as well as the reason why it was chosen. 

Resource Summary   

Why we have selected it? 

The Declaration has been chosen as Resource of the Month this month, as the text, which until now was only a draft declaration, has recently been endorsed by the ICA Forum of National Archivists (FAN), the Programme Commission (PCOM), and the Executive Board (EB), and has been discussed with the Forum of Professionals Associations (FPA) and the Expert Group on Research Services and Outreach (EGRSO). 

The Declaration has been updated with a new template and also a new Spanish translation has been made. During the ICA Roma 2022 conference, EGLM will be presenting a panel titled, “A Copyright Declaration for ICA”, it will discuss this resource: its purpose and its content as well as its use as an advocacy and training tool.  This session will take place on the last day of the conference, the 23rd of September 2022. This is the first Resource of the Month which highlights a resource produced by the EGLM, a forum for high-level discussion and expert advice on the management of archives and records where it has or might have a bearing on and/or is or might be affected by legal and regulatory issues.  

To learn more about EGLM click here.  

What you will find in this resource? 

The Declaration on Copyright was produced as a Draft by the EGLM in April 2021, as a result of resolutions taken at the 2017 ICA Conference in Mexico. It is intended as a jargon-free advocacy tool aimed at “archival administrators, those to whom they report, associations of archives professionals, our sister professions, and copyright policy bureaucrats and lawmakers”, to advocate for changes to their national copyright laws. “Because each country has different copyright law, the document has been written at a high level, and avoids specific references to particular national law(s)”.  

“ICA has a Representative to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)”. By articulating a clear position statement, the Declaration aims to “help the WIPO Representative, Elected Officers and Secretariat to share some of the work of pushing for improvements in copyright provisions internationally”. This is seen as necessary as “cultural international organizations have only observer status within WIPO, whereas member states have the voting rights on Treaties, etc. There is a very strong lobby representing commercial, published content creators influencing WIPO and too frequently protections designed to protect revenue streams of the publishers have inflicted collateral damage on cultural life.”   

It is hoped that the provisions of the Declaration will become the basis of a WIPO “binding international treaty to harmonize such provisions and exceptions across borders”, aimed at facilitating “the public interest role of archives, maintaining the balance between the rights of authors and the larger public interest”. The unique and irreplaceable nature of archives prohibits their lending and instead requires copying of records. Additionally, preserving and enabling access to digitised and born digital archives requires the need for copying. All of this presents copyright challenges which are highly specific to the archives sector, and which need addressing as such. 

The Declaration responds to the need for an international approach to “establish a minimum level of copyright exceptions in all jurisdictions that will enable archives to make and disseminate the copies essential to fulfilling their mission.” In addition to advocating a legal environment aimed at facilitating archival institutions abilities to fulfil their missions, another core purpose of the declaration is to protect individual archival workers “from criminal liability and from copyright infringement, when their actions are performed in good faith.”  


Discover the resource by clicking here