Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group

LIBER Welcomes Final Copyright Directive Text

Posted: 14-02-2019 Topics: Copyright

LIBER welcomes news that negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council have agreed a final compromise text for the European Union’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

The proposed Directive, which has been nearly three years in the making, contains many positive developments for Europe’s library, education and research community.

Notably, it represents a hugely significant step forward in the way that researchers, libraries, and citizens can use in-copyright works. These include:

  • Articles 3 and 3a which for the first time reflect  the data economy we live in, introducing copyright exceptions for Text and Data Mining (TDM) which forms the basis of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
  • Article 5 which allows digital preservation of in-copyright works including the use of digital preservation networks within a member state, but also cross border.
  • Articles 7-9 which create mechanisms that allow for the mass digitisation of in-copyright but out of commerce works that sit in the continent’s libraries and archives.

Despite these worthy introductions, LIBER remains apprehensive about Articles 11 and 13, and their potentially negative impact on education and research.

Article 11 (nicknamed the ‘link tax’) introduces a new right for publishers, under which copyright will apply to the use of anything more than very short extracts of news stories. What exactly qualifies as “very short” has yet to be seen, but LIBER shares the concerns of academics in terms of how this may affect the free flow of information.

Article 13 relates to online content sharing services and introduces new obligations on organisations who allow end users to upload content to their platforms. Academic repositories are, thankfully, exempt from Article 13 but the overall effect on the sharing and reuse of content — and the knock-on effect on knowledge creation, which libraries heavily support — is concerning.

Although the compromise text of the Directive is now final, it must still gain the approval of the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI). That will be followed by a vote in Council and, finally, a vote in the plenary of the European Parliament – due to happen sometime between late March and mid-April. MEPs could, in the Plenary vote, choose to cancel or introduce changes to the bill.

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