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EU Copyright Reform: EUA and leading research groups push for more change

12 January 2017

EUA has joined forces with four key European research organisations to call on legislators to modify current EU copyright reform proposals in order to allow Europe the opportunity to become a global leader in data-driven innovation and research.

In a statement released on 10 January 2017, EUA together with CESAER, LERU, LIBER and Science Europe — which together represent hundreds of universities, libraries, funders and research performing organisations — say amendments in five main areas are critical if Europe wants to be at the forefront of a prosperous and growing digital society, the vision set out by the European Commission in its strategy for a Digital Single Market.

The statement comes amid EUA’s extensive work in this area and less than two months after the Association released its response to the European Commission Proposal for a Copyright Directive. The joint statement singles out areas for change that directly affect the research and education sector. 

Key among the requested modifications are those related to Text and Data Mining (TDM). The proposed Directive only gives a mandatory TDM exception to research organisations doing scientific research. This must be redrafted so that any individual or organisation with legal access to content can also legally use digital technologies to mine that content. Furthermore, the Directive must clarify that technical measures may not be used to prevent beneficiaries from exercising their rights under an exception, or to impose unreasonable limitations on how TDM is performed. 

“Providing innovators, educators, students and researchers with more legal certainty on the rights and duties linked to the use of materials is a seminal step forward for universities,” explains David Drewry, EUA Vice-President and Chair of the Research Policy Working Group. “However, we need to foster collaboration among citizens, researchers outside academia and fledgling commercial organisations, like spin-offs and start-ups, thus the exception for TDM has to be broadened.”

Modifications are also needed in relation to proposed legislation governing the supply of documents and use of materials for cross-border teaching and research, ancillary copyright, and transparency obligation. Without these modifications, cross-border research activities and the deployment of new technologies for research and innovation will be impeded by legal uncertainty.

“We urge European legislators to remove the remaining barriers in the current proposal for copyright in the Digital Single Market,” emphasises Jean-Pierre Finance, Chair of EUA Science 2.0/Open Science Expert Group and former EUA Council member. “These barriers risk putting Europe’s most advanced research and innovation practices at a disadvantage in the global competition for new knowledge.”

By removing these remaining barriers in the current proposal for copyright in the Digital Single Market, Europe’s research and innovation communities will have the framework they need to ensure that the most advanced research and innovation practices can be applied for the benefit of society, now and for the future.

European University Association (EUA)

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