The European Commission has published a “communication” outlining its long-awaited proposals for copyright reform. Specific areas of change are highlighted, some of which are very relevant to HE and research:
An EU wide Text and Data Mining exception is proposed, which would enable “public interest research organisations” to carry out TDM on any content to which they enjoy legal access. For previous posts on TDM see here. There is also an excellent explananation of the importance of TDM on the Universities UK blog.
The UK is ahead of the game (in EU terms) having implemented an exception in 2014 to enable TDM providing it is for a non commercial purpose. Library and research organisations have lobbied energetically for a TDM exception which would apply in all EU member states and which would not have the “non commercial” limitation .
Just as there is some doubt about where the boundery lies between commercial and no commercial so there is some uncertainty about the scope of “public interest research organisation”. This may be clarified in the draft legislation to follow in Spring 2016.
In any case, an EU wide exception with some limitations is probably better than no exception. This will free up collaborative TDM projects between researchers in mutiple EU member states which would previously have been hindered by copyright considerations.