Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group

LIBER’s Voting Recommendations on the Digital Single Market Directive

Posted: 22-03-2019 Topics: Copyright Strategy

Years of work to reform European copyright legislation will come to a head next Tuesday, when the European Parliament in Strasbourg votes on the Digital Single Market Directive.

The proposed Directive, which has been nearly three years in the making, contains many positive developments for Europe’s library, education and research community. However we remain concerned at the implications of Articles 11 and 13.

Vote for the Directive But Reject Articles 11 and 13

In common with many library and educational bodies with whom we closely collaborate, we urge MEPs to vote for the Directive but reject both Articles 11 and 13.

LIBER has been working on the antecedents to the Directive in the form of Licences for Europe (2013). Six years later, we are delighted to say that 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 and across borders.
  • 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.

Potentially Negative for Education and Research

Despite these transformative 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.

*Articles 11 and 13 have now been renumbered for voting to Articles 15 and 17 respectively.

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