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An Insider’s View of the WIPO: Interview with Janice T. Pilch, Associate Professor of Library Administration and Humanities Librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

An international copyright advocate for the Library Copyright Alliance, which consists of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries, Janice has represented the interests of U.S. libraries and the public at copyright-related meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other international fora for the past three years. As an advocate, she develops position statements to advance fair and equitable access to information, contributing to LCA’s strategic effort to influence legislation and public policy governing use of copyrighted materials.

In 2009-2010 Janice also served as Visiting Program Officer on International Copyright for the Association of Research Libraries, responsible for research and policy formulation on international copyright issues relating to libraries.

At the ALA Annual Conference in June 2010 in Washington, Janice was a member of a panel co-sponsored by ACRL and the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy on “Why WIPO? Why International Copyright Matters.” We thought we would invite her to share some of her insights on the important work being done by the Library Copyright Alliance at WIPO in the global IP debate.

Mary Minow:
How did you find yourself before WIPO in June, representing library, and by extension, the public’s interests?

Janice Pilch: When the Library Copyright Alliance launched its international copyright advocacy program in October 2007, it gained accreditation as an NGO with observer status at WIPO. We set out to cover the work of three key WIPO committees: the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP), and the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), as well as the WIPO General Assembly.

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Short and to the point, a new article by Brandon
Butler in the ARL/CNI/SPARC’s Research Library Issues

explodes “Urban Copyright Legends.”  

Is Fair Use always a high burden for the
education community to defend?  If
a license is available, does that automatically negate Fair Use?  If your university is relying on the
Teach Act, does that trump Fair Use? 
(I’m horrified, by the way, that some think it does). 

I like it that this article is
readable, yet cites case law and other authoritative sources. That’s always a
trick – to make copyright reading understandable yet not oversimplified beyond

Butler does it exceedingly well. In a sense, he creates a starter “SNOPES”
for copyright legends that he says he sometimes wishes for.