Copyright Reform


Libraries deserve an information infrastructure that enables research in their institutions to be world class.

For this infrastructure to thrive, it must be part of an ecosystem that can accommodate and nurture the changing nature of research and innovation in the digital age. As the infrastructure evolves to accommodate rapid advances in information technology, an explosion in the production of data and a culture shift towards collaboration and openness, so too must the surrounding policies and legislation.

So far, however, the evolution of copyright and associated intellectual property legislation has not kept pace with the digital age. Without significant changes to European legislation, Europe’s research potential will not be fully realised.

What is LIBER’s position?

We believe that the need for copyright reform is urgent. Please read our LIBER Position Statement: Copyright in the Digital Age.

If we aim to be competitive in terms of quality research output, we cannot afford to delay the process of reform. That is why we are actively advocating for a more flexible copyright system. In particular, we are calling for:

  • Better harmonisation of legal and technical requirements for sharing content across EU member states;
  • All exceptions related to education, learning and access to knowledge to be made mandatory;
  • A specific exception for text and data mining for all research purposes;
  • For the wording of the Information Society Directive to be expanded so that it also applies to digital preservation activities;
  • Safe-guarding from contracts undermining limitations and exceptions in copyright law;
    Provisions to allow e-lending by libraries, similar to analogue lending;
  • Publicly-funded research results to be made openly available regardless of contracts signed with a publisher;
  • Research exceptions that make no distinction between commercial and non-commercial purposes;
  • Data such as hyperlinks to remain free of all intellectual property rights. They are a building block of knowledge and must be freely usable and shareable by anyone for any purpose;
  • The minimum terms of protection in Europe (currently 70 years) to be reduced to life plus 50 years for copyrighted works.

How is LIBER helping?

In 2014, we established a Working Group on Copyright which drafted our response to the EU’s copyright review. In order to ensure that the EU received a strong and unified message from the library community, we also encouraged and helped our members to submit their own responses.

We have published a position statement on copyright, lobbyed extensively on copyright issues related to text and data mining in particular and have signed a Memorandum-of-Understanding on Out of Commerce works.