The COVID-19 crisis represents a period of unprecedented challenge all academic and research libraries and SCONUL has supported an initiative from RLUK on an open letter to the Secretaries of State for Education and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, calling for copyright rules to be relaxed to enable remote learning and research during the COVID-19 crisis.
Libraries Connected, the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA), SCURL, CILIP, and UCL are also signatories. The letter makes the following suggestions for the government as it works to navigate the unprecedented challenges represented by the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus:
- A statement from government that s171 (3) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 can be used as a defence by public libraries, research organisations and educational establishments for as long as the current crisis lasts;
- Emergency legislation or immediate soft-law initiatives to ensure that the infringing activities in normal circumstances are not actionable by rightsholders;
- Compulsory licensing and government compensation for rightsholders allowing whole items to be copied and accessed remotely.