Science Europe and LERU welcome new EC copyright Communication
LERU (the League of European Research Universities) and Science Europe (an association of major European research funding and research performing organisations) have both welcomed the European Commission's Communication "Towards a modern, more European copyright framework", which was presented on 9 December 2015, from the research perspective, and in which the Commission is considering a legislative proposal for Text and Data Mining in 2016 to allow public interest research organisations to carry out text and data mining of content to which they have lawful access, with full legal certainty, for scientific research purposes. .
Science Europe points out that it had been advocating a future "research-friendly copyright law" over the past year, and in particular the necessity of a broad mandatory provision ensuring that Text and Data Mining (TDM) for research purposes – meaning techniques which allow the search and analysis of the steadily-growing amounts of digitally available content – does not infringe copyright. From Science Europe's perspective, the EC is now "taking an important step towards contributing to improvements of the scientific environment", by planning to provide scientific research with the legal certainty regarding copyright which it requires.
LERU has also already campaigned for quite some time for such an exception for Text and Data Mining. The association sees many of its views reflected in the Commission's proposal, saying that Europe lags behind other countries in this respect. LERU claims that "The development of a mandatory Exception, which cannot be overridden by contract or Technical Protection Measures, will bring enormous benefit to European researchers and the European economy, stimulating research and development, the creation of new jobs and commercialization opportunities".
While welcoming the EC's proposal in principle, LERU is critical of the time the Commission has taken to consider options and proposals, and also of the fact that the Communication seeks to limit the scope of the Exception to "public interest research organisations". It says this will benefit universities, research organisations and their researchers, but leaves Citizen Science and SMEs out of account, although both Citizen Scientists and SMEs are increasingly partners of universities in research. LERU therefore requests that all bodies and individuals would enjoy the benefit of legal certainty to undertake Content Mining on all materials to which they have lawful access, and that this is made explicit through an all-encompassing definition of the beneficiaries. The association also calls on the Commission to "proceed as speedily as possible with a mandatory Exception for Content Mining, which cannot be overridden by contract or Technical Protection Measures".
The EC is expected to present a legal proposal in Spring 2016.
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