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European Commission works “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework”

17 December 2015

The European Commission (EC) published on 9 December 2015 a Communication entitled “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework”.

The document is an integral element of the EC’s digital single market strategy and aims at increasing the availability of creative content across the EU without compromising the protection of copyright holders. The Communication provides a framework with short-term goals, including the “portability” of online content services, mid-term plans for proposals in 2016, and a long-term vision for the coming years. 

The EC plans, most crucially from the perspective of the university sector, to consider legislative proposals in spring 2016 in order to “allow public interest research organisations to carry out text and data mining of content they have lawful access to, with full legal certainty, for scientific research purposes” (original emphasis). 

Furthermore, it first wants to provide clarity concerning the EU exception for ‘illustration for teaching’ and its applicability to digital learning environments, and, secondly, to establish a space for preservation by cultural heritage institutions that use digital technologies. Thirdly, the EC intends to support remote consultations of works from libraries for research and private study. Finally, the EC wants to clarify the current “panorama exception” for works that were made to be permanently located in public spaces to take new dissemination channels into account. In the long term the EC hopes to foster convergence of national laws concerning copyright issues. 

EUA welcomes the positive stance of the EC on scientific text and data mining (TDM) and on education in digital learning environments. Professor Jean-Pierre Finance, chairman of EUA’s Expert Group ‘Science 2.0/Open Science’, stresses that the Communication “will hopefully lead to legal clarity for TDM research” and “will in turn be able to stimulate new discoveries and innovations.” Professor Finance also indicated that he is “glad to see that the EC took up EUA’s work on the growing importance of online courses and e-learning in higher education.” 

TDM will also be addressed in EUA’s upcoming Open Access Roadmap in spring 2016 that aims at assisting European universities in the transition to Open Access.

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96