In order to maintain an appropriate balance between the interests of rightsholders and users of protected works, copyright laws allow certain limitations on economic rights, that is, cases in which protected works may be used without the authorization of the rightsholder and with or without payment of compensation.
Limitations and exceptions to copyright and related rights vary from country to country due to particular social, economic and historical conditions. International treaties acknowledge this diversity by providing general conditions for the application of limitations and exceptions, leaving national legislators to decide if a particular limitation or exception is to be applied and, if it is the case, to determine its exact scope. With the development of new technologies and the ever increasing worldwide use of the Internet, there has been extensive discussion about how limitations and exceptions apply in the digital environment, including when content crosses borders.
The WIPO Standing Committee for Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) has been addressing the issue of limitations and exceptions to copyright since 2004 and has been addressing limitations and exceptions to copyright for libraries and archives, educational and research institutions, and persons with other disabilities at every session since 2012. The SCCR developed and implemented extensive Action Plans on limitations and exceptions in 2018-19, culminating in an International Conference on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries, Archives, Museums and Educational and Research Institutions.