Article 3 of the proposed EU copyright reform/expansion

Commission proposal

Establishes a new EU-wide copyright exception for the modern research method Text and Data Mining, but only for “research institutions” and “for the purposes of scientific research”.

Consequences

  • Chilling effect on research and innovation: Text- and data mining is a technology gaining in importance for tasks such as analysing big data sets and training artificial intelligence systems. Not enabling other actors like independent researchers, journalists, hobbyists and companies to easily use these promising research methods – and not enabling research institutions to commercialise their breakthroughs – will have a chilling effect on discoveries in the public interest.
  • Denying EU startups a level playing field: Restricting the scope of a TDM copyright exception to research institutions would deny European research- and AI-based companies a level playing field on the international market, harming EU competitiveness in these highly promising sectors.

Public debate

Independent academics heavily criticise the scope of the proposal:

  • “Runs counter to the goals of copyright and the functions of economic rights”, “data mining should be permitted for non-commercial research purposes, for research conducted in a commercial context, for purposes of journalism and for any other purpose”European Copyright Society
  • “[The restriction] lacks a substantive justification”, “would lead to a fragmentary and incoherent legal development in the longer run”Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition
  • “A reform based on [a] more flexible approach would have benefits for society as a whole. It would allow to unlock the full potential of innovative text-and-data mining technology and generate new products and services in the field of data analytics. It would allow start-up companies to pave the way for increased EU competitiveness and knowledge leadership in the promising field of (big) data analytics, as desired by the Commission.”Prof Dr Martin Senftleben.

European Parliament

  • In the (leading) Legal Affairs Committee it was proposed to extend the TDM exception to all people. But the person responsible for that proposal has since left the Parliament and her successor has distanced himself from her position. The EPP group now opposes extending the scope.
  • The Internal Market Committee wants to additionally allow cultural heritage institutions to use TDM.
  • The Industry Committee wants to additionally allow startups to use TDM – but only as long as they’re under 3 years old and small.

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