Copyright reform in Armenia

EIFL supports libraries in Armenia as the country prepares to introduce a new copyright law

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Left to right: Hasmik Galstyan, EIFL Copyright Coordinator, Satenik (Bella) Avagyan, AGBU Papazian Library Director, Prof Kenneth Crews, and Teresa Hackett, Copyright and Libraries Programme Manager during a visit to Armenia, October 2015
Left to right: Hasmik Galstyan, EIFL Copyright Coordinator, Satenik (Bella) Avagyan, AGBU Papazian Library Director, Prof Kenneth Crews, and Teresa Hackett, Copyright and Libraries Programme Manager during a visit to Armenia, October 2015

EIFL has been engaged in copyright work in Armenia since 2012, supporting a national  advocacy campaign to review the current copyright law (2006) and to make library-friendly recommendations for the new law.  

The new draft copyright law was published in 2017. The legislative process is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. EIFL and the Electronic Library Consortium of Armenia (ELCA) will make interventions as needed.

EIFL’s support helped build capacity and confidence of Armenian librarians to engage with the Armenian copyright office and to represent libraries’ interests on the international stage, at a meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva (Switzerland). Participation in national and international processes has won recognition for Armenian librarians as important stakeholders and contributors to copyright law reform.

In Armenia, the stakeholder group that showed the most vivid interest was the library community. Our discussions, attended by a wide range of librarians, were very constructive and I learned at first-hand about the specific problems for  libraries in Armenia – for a legislator a very precious experience on one hand, and a great challenge on the other. Having heard the voice of the Armenian library community, I changed several provisions in the pre-draft text to meet their concerns as far as possible, especially the chapter on exceptions and limitations, while safeguarding the framework of international and European legislation to which the Republic of Armenia is committed.” - Dr Miha Trampuz, appointed expert to develop a modern and European Union-compliant draft Law on Copyright and Related Rights of the Republic of Armenia.

Background

Armenia joined WIPO in 1993, the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2003, and is a member of major international treaties including the Berne Convention, Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the WIPO internet treaties.

In 2013, Armenia took part in negotiations with the European Union (EU) on an Association Agreement that was to include a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with a chapter on intellectual property rights. The negotiations prompted a review of the Armenian Law on Copyright and Related Rights (2006) to assess alignment with EU laws. In the end, the DCFTA was not signed.

In 2015, Armenia joined the Eurasian Customs Union (EACU) that includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

In 2016, the law on copyright was part of the programme for government of the Republic of Armenia.

Libraries in Armenia play an important role in developing a democratic society and in providing support for education. They increasingly supplement print collections with electronic materials to provide access to new resources and to offer new services to library users.

However basic activities such as digitization activities and electronic document delivery are hampered by the 2006 copyright law that does not cater for the digital environment. Librarians need to be involved in copyright law reform to ensure that the new law meets the modern information needs of libraries and library users in Armenia today.

Timeline

June 2012 – December 2017

Main activities and achievements

2012 - 2013

EIFL supported an advocacy campaign for copyright reform in Armenia:

  • The project partners were ELCA and the American University of Armenia (AUA). The Project Manager was Hasmik Galystan, EIFL Copyright Coordinator in Armenia. A Library Copyright Committee was established to advise on project activities.
  • A legal advisor, Dr  Maja Bogataj Jančič, Institute of Intellectual Property, Slovenia, was hired to provide a legal analysis of the library provisions in the copyright law with recommendations for amendments.
  • As a result of the project, limitations and exceptions for libraries in the pre-draft copyright law were substantially improved, a professional relationship with the Armenian copyright office was developed, and library leadership was strengthened with new knowledge and confidence to debate copyright issues.
  • In July 2012, an international library delegation held a roundtable discussion on copyright issues, especially international trends and developments, with senior officials at the Armenian Intellectual Property Agency (AIPA).
  • In August 2012, the first meeting to discuss library concerns took place between the Library Copyright Committee and Dr Miha Trampuz, an EU expert appointed to make a pre-draft of the new copyright law.
  • In September 2012, a roundtable discussion with 15 library Directors and ELCA members was co-organized with AIPA. There was consensus on the need to address gaps in the law to enable libraries to provide modern, digital services to meet the needs of the academic and user community.
  • In October 2012, the first resource on library copyright issued in the Armenian language was published, when the EIFL Handbook on Copyright and Related Issues was translated and adapted for Armenian law. As a result, librarians could learn about the issues and contribute their views.
  • In November 2012 copyright officials learnt at first hand the views of librarians around the country. Two seminars, in Lori Regional Library (Vanadzor), and Shirak Regional Library (Gyumri), organized in cooperation with AIPA, were attended by more than 100 participants from libraries, archives and museums, faculty and student councils. Participants had the opportunity to meet copyright officials from Yerevan for the first time, to ask questions and to clarify many issues.
  • In November 2012 libraries were invited for the first time to take part in multi-stakeholder events. The VI International Forum of Translators and Publishers, part of Yerevan World Book Capital 2012, and a seminar organized by an EU Twinning Project on Strengthening the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights provided an opportunity for librarians to remind participants that stronger copyright enforcement goes hand-in-hand with fair and reasonable user freedoms.

2014

  • In December 2014, Hasmik Galystan became the first librarian from Armenia to participate at a session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR). Click the image (right) to watch Hasmik’s Galystan’s presentation to the WIPO SCCR. During the session, there was an opportunity to meet international copyright experts, as well as government delegates from all over the world. In a statement delivered on behalf of EIFL, Hasmik made a personal plea for a global exception for inter-library document supply so that libraries in Armenia and other countries can properly support education and learning.

2015

2017

Next steps

The new draft copyright aw, published in 2017, is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

EIFL and ECLA will be working to ensure that the new law properly meets the needs of modern library activities and services in Armenia, in line with international standards and best practices.

Useful resources

Copyright in Armenia - will library expectations be met?

WIPO should take the lead on libraries before someone else does

Maximizing access to learning resources in Armenia