Knowledge Rights 21 Project

Press Release – Official Launch of Knowledge Rights 21 Project – 21st Century Access to Culture, Learning and Research in Europe

Posted: 23-09-2021

23 September 2021, THE HAGUE – For Immediate Release

Stichting IFLA Foundation (SIF) signs an agreement for a €3m Arcadia grant to launch new Knowledge Rights 21 (KR21) programme to promote possibilities to study, research, and participate in cultural life in Europe.

Knowledge Rights 21 (KR21) formally launches today. We are grateful to Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, for its grant of €3m over three years awarded to the Knowledge Rights 21 programme to Stichting IFLA Foundation (SIF). SIF will work with key partner associations – IFLA, LIBER, and SPARC Europe as well as experts to strengthen the voice of libraries.

KR21 will be advocating for a 21st-century copyright environment across Europe that is friendly to the modern delivery and use of education and research materials as well as the spread of culture and heritage in the digital age.

With a focus on evidence and capacity building, our goal is to achieve and implement reforms to copyright law and practice that enable knowledge institutions to provide unhindered access to copyright works for education and research purposes.

Libraries are recognised as powerful interlocutors that have an important role to play in any copyright discussion as they seek to improve access to and use of knowledge in a fast-changing digital environment. They are uniquely placed to know what elements in copyright and related bodies of law and licences do not work well causing uncertainties and impeding teaching, learning and research.

Working with public, national, educational, health and research libraries, universities and the wider access to knowledge movement, we aim to build networks and promote copyright reform at the European and national levels, and through our work leave a lasting legacy that influences similar developments elsewhere in the world.

We shall work in the following key areas:

  • Facilitating fair access to e-books for users of public, national, educational and research libraries;
  • Protecting users’ rights under copyright legislation from contract override and technological protection measures that undermine statutory exceptions to copyright;
  • Promoting the case for the introduction of open and flexible copyright norms in Europe to aid research, teaching and learning;
  • Advocating for a legislated scholarly publication / secondary publishing right in laws;
  • Accelerating the uptake of author rights retention activities and open licensing in Europe.


Knowledge Rights 21. Knowledge Rights 21 (KR21) is a three year programme that aims to mobilise the potential of Europe’s knowledge institutions, particularly libraries, to engage with others across the spectrum of the access to knowledge movement to build momentum towards long term copyright reform that benefits library users and researchers in the 21st century.

Arcadia. Arcadia is a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. Arcadia supports work to preserve cultural heritage and endangered ecosystems, and promote access to knowledge. Since 2002, Arcadia has awarded more than $910 million USD to projects around the world.

IFLA. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. IFLA is the main platform for formulating goals, exerting influence as a group, protecting interests, and finding solutions to global problems. IFLA offers you an international network to exchange ideas and to promote international cooperation, research and development in all fields. IFLA depends on the cooperation and active involvement of its members to reach its goals.

LIBER. The Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries) is the main network for research libraries in Europe. Founded in 1971, the association (a Foundation or Stichting under Dutch law from 2009) has grown steadily to include more than 440 national, university and other libraries from 38 countries. Together we work to represent the interests of European research libraries, their universities and their researchers in several key areas. We lobby policymakers on issues such as Copyright and Open Access. We collaborate with our member libraries on European-funded projects and through events such as our Annual Conference, we create opportunities for library professionals to meet and learn from each other.

SPARC Europe. SPARC Europe is one of Europe’s key and long-standing voices advocating for unfettered access to research and education — for the academic and education community; for the whole of society. More openness in research and education, we believe, will lead to an accelerated rate of discovery in academia and in the private sector, and of learning at every strata of education. SPARC Europe is a Dutch foundation is committed to delivering on the promise of open access, open science, open scholarship and open education.

Stichting IFLA Foundation. Stichting IFLA Foundation was founded in 2007 to promote the international support, cooperation, exchange of information, education, research, and development within the scope of the library and information services sector in general. In addition, the Foundation seeks to protect, preserve, and document written and printed cultural heritage, and all that is in connection with these purposes.