Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group

LIBER and Communia Launch Joint Guidelines on Text and Data Mining

Posted: 02-12-2019 Topics: Copyright Strategy

Today LIBER and Communia are releasing detailed guidelines on the implementation of the Digital Single Market Directive. LIBER has specifically worked to develop the guidance related to text and data mining, as covered in Articles 3 and 4 of the Directive.

The LIBER-Communia guidelines come in addition to detailed library guidelines on the Digital Single Market Directive, published last week by LIBER, EBLIDA, IFLA and SPARC Europe. Both documents seek to explain the Directive as it stands to librarians, researchers, government and civil society, and to provide advice on implementing the Directive nationally.

In the LIBER-Communia guidelines, LIBER’s work focused on outlining the wide range of potential outcomes for Articles 3 and 4. All European countries have flexibility in implementing these parts of the Directive, and an unambitious implementation could be quite far from an ambitious one which aims to actively support data analytics as one of the fundamental facets for machine learning and AI in a member state. 

It is also important to note that — whereas Article 3 is aimed at research organisations and comes close to LIBER’s ideal position of ‘The Right to Read is the Right To Mine’ — LIBER remains disappointed in Article 4 (aimed at all types of users). 

Article 4 unfortunately, in LIBER’s opinion, cements in law relative data scarcity in Europe for data miners, compared to other parts of the globe.  It fails to give competitive legal certainty regarding data analytics to startups and other organisations based within the European Union. This is disappointing as data analytics is fundamental to the success of Europe’s digital economy. Without access to data at scale, with as few impediments as possible, Europe will continue to lag in this important sector behind the United States, China and Japan. 

LIBER’s Experience With TDM Advocacy

LIBER has extensive experience in advocating for copyright exceptions for data analytics at the European level. 

In 2013, we joined the Licences for Europe stakeholder dialogue — convened by the then commissioners of the Internal Market Commissioner: Michel Barnier, Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes and Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. After initially participating in the discussions to find a legal solution for Europe to data mining, LIBER withdrew along with other groups representing libraries, research and SMEs because we were dissatisfied with the lack of engagement from the Commission regarding using limitations and exceptions as a means to undertake data mining.

In the following years, LIBER organised other initiatives including a TDM workshop at the British Library (attended by the Research and Innovation Directorate, including Cabinet members) and the 2015 launch of the Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age. The Hague Declaration called for immediate changes to intellectual property law and was signed by nearly 900 individuals and institutions.

After the 2016 launch of the draft Digital Single Market Directive — which included one exception for TDM — we increased collaboration with our library partners EBLIDA, IFLA and SPARC Europe, as well as with MEPs, to improve the text. Six years after Licences for Europe, the Directive finally passed in April 2019 with not one, but two text and data mining exceptions.  

There is still much to do to support Big Data and AI in Europe. We hope that (within the limits provided by the Directive) these guidelines prove helpful to technology practitioners and policy advocates to support a more innovative and more inclusive technology environment in Europe.

We thank the authors of the guidelines: Benjamin White (LIBER Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group Chair) and co-author Dr. Maja Bogataj Jančič (Head of Intellectual Property Institute, Slovenia / Communia). Teresa Nobre (Vice-Chair Communia) provided essential support as coordinator for the guidelines.

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