Commission proposes mandatory exception for research in EU copyright
On 9 December 2015, the European Commission (EC) proposed a mandatory exception for research in EU copyright legislation, based on the need for European researchers and innovators to have the explicit right to process on a large scale the content to which they have legal access.
According to the EC, this exception should overcome the current fragmented copyright regime across the EU, the lack of clarity around copyright and ownership of derived works, and the inadequacy of licencing solutions. These obstacles have so far hampered the use of technologies commonly known as Text and Data Mining (TDM) in the EU. As a result, researchers – especially those from public interest research organisations – have felt discouraged to use such techniques to analyse vast amounts of digital content.
When presenting the Commission's proposal, Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "Scientific research is collaborative and knows no borders, so the currently fragmented copyright regime in Europe is simply unacceptable. We also need to ensure that Europe does not fall behind other regions of the world, where text and data mining is already made easy. I have strongly supported a copyright exception for our researchers and innovators because they should be given the best conditions to do their jobs. The exception proposed today will be pivotal in spurring innovation and growth in Europe."
The harmonisation of the copyright exception for scientific research purposes was identified earlier this year as a key for the functioning of the Digital Single Market. According to the Commission, the planned exception will help the scientific community and innovative companies that have established collaboration with them – in particular in the case of public-private partnerships – make the best use of digital content they have already lawfully acquired or obtained access to. It will help bring coherence among the EU's 28 Member States and remove key barriers to Open Science and Open Innovation.
The European Commission is planning to release the legislative package, including the exception for research, in spring 2016.
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