Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group

Proposed TDM Exception Remains Too Narrow

Posted: 15-11-2017 Topics: Strategy

The European Commission’s proposed exception for Text and Data Mining remains too narrow and should be changed so that anyone with lawful access to content can use technology to read that content. In addition, the proposals should be modified so that scientists can ensure their results are reproducible and verifiable.

This was the message which LIBER’s Copyright Working Group sent to Brussels on Monday, after the Consolidated Presidency compromise proposal on the ‘Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ was made public last week.

LIBER joined fellow research organisations CESAER, EUA, LERU, Science Europe and SPARC Europe in sending the following reaction:

Although we see several improvements to the text in the recitals, our main concern is the narrow scope of beneficiaries of the Text and Data Mining exception, which remains a major flaw of the proposed directive and compromise text.

We are fundamentally against a provision prohibiting people and organisations with lawful access to content to use the help of technology to read this content. A copy made for the act of Text and Data Mining is not aimed for communication or distribution of the work as such but only for a quicker reading and analysis of the facts and data, and information is not protected by copyright or by the sui generis database right. Such an act hence does not affect the normal exploitation of the work in any way.

We support the copyright holders’ right to charge both for access and for services offered around TDM of works. However, they should not be given a monopoly of this market based on copyright law. This is fundamentally wrong and damaging for our knowledge based economy.

Further, although recital 11c in the compromise text acknowledges the requirement for research organisations and Cultural Heritage Institutions to keep a copy for subsequent verification of scientific research results, which is welcome, the corresponding article 3.1.a has contradictory wording. It now says that ‘copies shall not be retained for longer than necessary for achieving the purposes of scientific research’. Not only can it be time and money consuming to normalise data from many different sources, but researchers are also required to keep datasets by funders so that people can go back and verify or test findings against the original data. Anything else would be considered bad science. The wording in article 3.1.a needs to be aligned with the text in recital 11c.

On a positive note, there were some welcome improvements to the consolidated text, notably:

  • A strengthened right to public-private partnerships;
  • An improved definition of cultural heritage institutions;
  • Assurances that people attached to research organisations and cultural heritage institutions are also covered by the exception;
  • An acknowledgement of the need for research organisations and cultural heritage institutions to retain the copies made under the exception for subsequent verification of scientific research results (although the corresponding text in Article 3.1.a needs to be amended);
  • Improved language around the right holders’ right to apply measures to protect the security and integrity of their systems and stresses that such measures should be proportionate and not risk the normal use of the works under copyright exception.

LIBER will continue to follow copyright developments closely, and speak up on behalf of research libraries to ensure the best possible outcome for our sector.

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