Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group

LIBER Copyright Update: Digital Humanities Campaign, Trilogue Progress & Plans for 2019

Posted: 18-12-2018 Topics: Copyright Strategy

LIBER’s Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group has been busy in recent weeks, keeping track of various copyright developments and making plans for next year.

Before we break for the Christmas holidays, here’s an overview of what has recently been achieved and what we’re working on for 2019. If you would like to receive future updates directly in your inbox, please join our mailing list for copyright updates.

Digital Humanities Letter Writing Campaign – In early December, we highlighted how EU copyright proposals are putting the Digital Humanities at risk and asked you to respond. Thanks to the dozens of libraries and researchers who heard our call, and emailed their MEPs and European Council representatives to raise this issue. There have been some positive developments on this point in trilogue. Although not yet fully agreed, it seems that the European Parliament is willing to drop its damaging amendments to Article 6 which would have limited digital humanities and the ability of libraries and universities to combine the following activities while something is still in copyright – text and data mining, preservation and distance teaching.

Trilogue Negotiations – Tripartite discussions between the European Commission, European Parliament and the European member states will continue into January. Unless the whole Directive is pulled due to controversies over online filtering, the following provisions are looking fairly settled:

  • Text and data mining exception for research purposes. Whether a more limited exception of commercial use is mandatory or not in all member states has yet to be decided.
  • Provision enabling distance learning under licence or an exception as decided by member states.
  • Digital preservation exception allowing cross border cooperation in the EU.
  • Solution for the mass digitisation of commercially unavailable materials, including unpublished materials.
  • New newspaper publishers right.
  • Changed liabilities framework for online  platforms which allow the upload of content to it from members of the public (potentially affecting openly accessible education and research platforms.

Next year, we’ll continue to monitor both the copyright discussions and proposed amendments to the Reuse of Public Sector Information Directive. We’ll run a copyright / licensing workshop for LIBER’s 2019 Annual Conference in Dublin, and we’re considering running a workshop on the GDPR: one year after its implementation.

Please get in touch if you have suggestions for topics or activities which you would like to see our group address, or if you would like to contribute to our ongoing work. Anyone working in a LIBER library, with an interest or specialism in copyright, is welcome. You can reach the group by emailing the LIBER Office:

With kind regards,

LIBER’s Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group

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