This is an interesting time for EU copyright law. In order to offer a comprehensive overview of a complex process, CREATe has collected various resources available here, here and here. To synthesize, it could be said that within the EU copyright reform package, which is intended to “modernise” EU copyright law, the Proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market stands out for its numerous provisions. Some of those have been object of a great deal of attention from academics, lawyers and citizens in general as they will significantly change the current EU copyright framework. And not necessarily in the right direction. In an opinion published today in The Conversation (here) CREATe’s Martin Kretschmer and Thomas Margoni discuss one of these provisions, dedicated to Text and Data Mining (TDM).
Art. 3 relates to a mandatory TDM exception that would benefit research organisations acting for research purposes, for example a university researcher scanning and analysing scientific articles. However, while Art. 3 is underpinned by the right innovation policy goal, the drafting is problematic. In particular, the current wording of Art. 3:
- limits the availability of the exception to research institutions for research purposes, thereby excluding innovative firms or journalists;
- it does not address the backdoor of preventing text and data mining for technical reasons, which allows publishers to force licensing opportunities;
- it only covers the right of reproduction but not the rights of distribution or communication to the public.
Therefore, whereas a TDM exception is a welcome addition to the current EU copyright framework, the current proposal is deeply problematic. There are possible compromise solutions (such as the so called “Option 4” discussed in the opinion), but there is also a more structural and conceptual mistake about copyright: copyright does not protect ideas, principles, facts and data as such, thus TDM should not be considered a copyright relevant act in the first place. [Continue reading here.]