10 January 2017
Today, representatives of the public research sector in Europe (LERU, CESAER, EUA, LIBER and Science Europe) call with a united voice on European legislators to remove the barriers to research and innovation that exist in the current proposal for copyright. EU policymakers should take the lead in developing legislative frameworks that allow fair dissemination, access to, sharing and use of available knowledge. The joint statement outlines the ways in which the European Commission´s proposal on copyright should be amended to ensure this.
In September 2016, the European Commission (EC) presented its legislative proposal to update the EU framework on copyright. In the coming months, the European Parliament and the Council will adopt their positions on this legislative file. To ensure that the EU copyright framework is well-suited for research and innovation, the EC´s proposal should be amended as outlined in the joint statement. This statement captures the central claims made by LERU during the past years with regard to the following:
The mandatory exception for TDM proposed by the EC is very much welcomed but it should not be limited to research organisations. As LERU has repeatedly stated, “the right to read is the right to mine” and anyone having legal access to the content should be able to mine it. An exception that turns its back to –amongst many others- start-ups is contrary to the innovation principle pursued by the EU institutions and detrimental to the innovation activities undertaken by universities. Furthermore, in order to ensure that the TDM exception is effective, the reference to technical safeguards (allowing rightholders to introduce them) should be removed.
During the past few years, LERU has also emphasised the need to make the existing exception for the purpose of illustration for teaching or scientific research (Art. 5.3 InfoSoc Directive) mandatory. Although the EC´s proposal does so, it limits the exception to education, arbitrarily excluding research from it. Research purposes should also be part of the mandatory exception.
LERU very much welcomed the transparency and the remuneration obligations included in the EC´s proposal in that they opened the door to authors receiving more information on the exploitation of their works and being entitled to claim additional and appropriate remuneration from the rightholders. However, in order to ensure that the obligations fulfill the intended goals, further clarification in the text of the proposal is needed.
As LERU recently stated, any extension of the EU’s copyright framework to include ancillary copyright will damage European research organisations, as libraries and communications departments would henceforth be unable to report and link news items on the web, without presumably the payment of copyright clearance fees. That is why the extension of the publishers’ rights, as outlined in Article 11 of the proposal, should clearly exclude ancillary copyright.
While welcoming the joint statement, LERU Secretary-General Kurt Deketelaere also gives a word of warning to EU policymakers: “This statement sends a clear message to EU policymakers about the future Directive should look like to allow research and innovation to develop their full potential in Europe. It is now up to EU policymakers to decide whether to empower R&I through the appropriate legislative framework or to hamper them.”