Open Science: EUA warns against rushing the EU copyright reform

26 April 2018

EUA signed an open letter to the Ambassadors of the Permanent Representations of the member states of the European Union on 26 April warning against rushing the debate on copyright reform in the Council of the EU.

EUA joined a broad alliance of more than 100 organisations representing educators, academics, universities, technology companies, start-ups and scale-ups, and non-governmental organisations in a letter that voiced its concerns over the latest proposal of the Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. They believed that this does not qualify as a balanced compromise and potentially harms Europe’s openness, education, research, innovation and competitiveness.

The letter underlines the serious flaws in the Bulgarian proposal and the damage it causes to a number of areas: first, and foremost, the exception for text and data mining (article 3) should be broadly based on lawful access (“the right to read is the right to mine”). This is particularly important at a time when Europe, as recently sketched out by the European Commission, sets its sails on becoming a global leader in the development of Artificial Intelligence which largely relies on machine-based analysis of big datasets.

Second, the proposal must create legal certainty for educators, researchers and students to navigate safely through digital environments and enable them to preserve, create and share knowledge (article 4). Contractual override or technological protection measures would seriously impair years of progress towards the European Research and European Higher Education Areas. Third, the interplay amongst the various articles of the proposal were not subject to any systematic discussion and could thus lead to unintended consequences and, eventually, contradictory interpretations of the law.

EUA’s involvement in this initiative builds on its activities for a research- and education-friendly copyright legislation in Europe, conveyed, amongst others, in the Association’s statement on the EC Copyright Framework (February 2016) and, more recently, in its updated response to the EC proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (February 2017). EUA will continue to advocate on behalf of its members for adequate and coherent legislation across Europe, as indicated in its statement to EU Institutions and National Governments (October 2017).

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