Mon, Mar 20, 2017

EARE welcomes improvements made by MEP Comodini Cachia on TDM

Today, the European Parliament took an important step to save the future of European research and innovation. The amendments to the Copyright proposal demanded by the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee’s Rapporteur will eliminate blocks on conducting Text and Data Mining (TDM). That means entrepreneurial start-ups, innovative small businesses, researchers, and even traditional businesses will be able do what the Commission’s original proposal would have made impossibly complex for them.

Over the last few months there has been intense discussion of this proposal and its impact on research, but the importance of TDM to everyday European businesses was often overlooked in many discussions. We are happy to see that Rapporteur Ms. Comodini Cachia heard the concerns of European startups, business interests along with those of academics and researchers and has set right the Commission’s proposal.

TDM and its importance to research, innovation, and businesses of all types formed the impetus for our launching the European Alliance for Research Excellence (EARE) last month. We joined the chorus of voices calling on the EU to enable fair and effective copyright rules for TDM. The voices of researchers, universities, and libraries, as well as the voices of businesses from startups to established companies, must continue to make themselves heard.

In our last blog, we wrote on the fundamental harm the Commission’s proposals would do to TDM in Europe. There had been encouraging remarks by Ms. Comodini Cachia on the need for the Copyright proposals to help startups and small businesses. Two other Committees in the European Parliament (Consumer Protection, Industry and Research) had also separately suggested that all potential users should have fair access to TDM. Nonetheless, the risk had been that the Commission’s TDM scheme would be lost in the jumble of wider copyright discussions. This would have set back the use of TDM in Europe at a time when the rest of the world is already pulling ahead of us.

Ms. Comodini Cachia’s report today is a sign that Parliament has listened and responded to these concerns. It is a major step towards eliminating unnecessary barriers and enabling cutting edge research and innovation to flourish on our continent. It will bring legal certainty for a lot of TDM users, especially the small businesses and startups that Europe is depending on for economic growth and global competitiveness. And it will allow Europe to remain a creator and an exporter of ideas rather than an importer of innovation generated somewhere else.

In the next couple of weeks, all MEPs will have a chance to amend Ms Comodini Cachia’s report. EARE hopes that they will support her approach and help promote Europe’s knowledge leadership. If they don’t, they risk denying Europe the opportunity to have the level TDM playing-field that our global competitors have already put in place.