Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group

European Research & Innovation At Risk After Copyright Vote

Posted: 12-09-2018 Topics: Copyright Strategy

The European Parliament today voted to approve proposed changes to copyright reform. LIBER welcomes improvements which will help libraries to better preserve, digitise and share their collections but remains deeply concerned that a lack of support for critical technologies such as Text and Data Mining (TDM) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) imply a bleak future for research and innovation in Europe.

Since 2012, LIBER has consistently worked on behalf of more than 400 national, university and special libraries across Europe to call for copyright reforms which support TDM, and which reflect the principle that ‘the right to read is the right to mine’. Anyone with legal access to content should be able to use computers to read and analyse that material.

It is deeply regrettable that the European Parliament has today voted in favour of proposals which fail to fully support new technologies. -LIBER President Jeannette Frey

Although the proposed legislation does include a mandatory exception for research organisations, others such as businesses and the general public have been left with a very restricted optional exception that Member States can choose whether to implement or not. This will cause 28 different technology environments across the single market.

“It is deeply regrettable that the European Parliament has today voted in favour of proposals which fail to fully support new technologies. This restricted TDM exception will undermine the European Commission’s broader efforts to support Open Science and Artificial Intelligence. It will also hinder valuable collaborations between universities, businesses and the public sector,” said LIBER President Jeannette Frey.

The approval of Article 13 is also concerning. It aims to reduce the number of copyright infringements in materials submitted by users on consumer music and film platforms by imposing obligations which will de facto require hosts to filter and monitor submissions. While major platforms such as YouTube are likely to be able to cope with such requirements, the provisions would also arguably apply to many of the activities of educational platforms such as institutional repositories, which simply do not have the resources to meet these new requirements.

LIBER encourages MEPs to consider the full implications of these proposals, and to make improvements in the upcoming Trilogue phase of the negotiations between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

Among the positive improvements for research libraries are amendments which enable digital preservation (including cross-border preservation networks) and the mass digitisation of in-copyright but commercially unavailable collections. Better support of distance learning and and cross-border teaching is also covered.

For questions about this statement, please contact Astrid Verheusen, LIBER Executive Director.

Related news articles