YOU must Support Intellectual Property Reform in UK

The UK government commissioned the Hargreaves report into Intellectual Property Reform and their recommendations (summarised by RLUK) were:

Professor Hargreaves’ Review made a number of important recommendations, including that exceptions at national level should include format shifting (vital for preservation), non-commercial research, and library archiving, and that EU exceptions should support text and data mining. There were also proposals on orphan works, which will allow a pragmatic solution to the question of how to digitize older material while still respecting rights holders

The Intellectual Property Office then asked anyone (this is useful modern democracy) to comment and got over 450 replies:

including one from me, and one from the Open Knowledge Foundation Open Science Group.


Worth reading but most sections include “both sides” of the case. “Both sides”? Don’t we all want reform? Well some people are very happy with the status quo. They have good businesses, especially scholarly publishers where universities give them content, they add near-zero value and then sell it back to the world. And the UK is very strong in this area – we have lots of wealth-generating publishers. Wealth-generating? Income generating, perhaps. But adding value?

Anyway there is substantial resistance to Hargreaves from publishers. Why should people like me be allowed to mine the scientific literature? It could destroy British industry. The Royal Society of Chemistry’s view (on this blog) is that I can only text-mine “RSC content” if I can guarantee they won’t lose business. And I can’t guarantee this.

Well if its’ that fragile, it’ll crash anyway.


So a number of MPs have tables an “Early day motion”. This is Houses-of-Parliament-speak for something the MPs want, rather than the government. The RLUK has provided some background:

They need support (ONLY FROM BRITS, I am afraid – anyone can write to Obama but it doesn’t work in reverse).

So you can write to them using

I don’t need to as our MP used to work in our lab.

BUT YOU DO. And RLUK’ll expect 100% effort from UK librarians on this.

And everyone else needs to as well.



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2 Responses to YOU must Support Intellectual Property Reform in UK

  1. Richard Kidd says:

    Hi Peter
    I didn’t ask you to guarantee that the RSC wouldn’t lose business, I asked that (a) you talk to the librarian so they understand what effect the mining may have on apparent usage from the university, and (b) indicated our concerns about republishing the extracted content to the extent that affects usage.
    I was pleasantly surprised that the draft OCM manifesto referred to excerpts, context and fair use. Though in another blog post (/pmr/2012/06/08/open-content-mining-richard-poynder-blogs-our-progress-so-far-and-i-summarise-my-current-impasse-with-publishers/) you say my points (actually I was quoting Cameron Neylon) about fair use and copyright terms are untenable. As we all know, ‘fair use’ doesn’t exist in the UK, but as a statement of intent I personally think it has some value.
    And that “RSC content” quote – it wasn’t from me, I don’t use the term. But I guess I might have to in future, if we now have to start talking about Open Content. Ho hum.

    • pm286 says:

      The current situtation with RSC is therefore that I have to talk to my Librarian and ask them to monitor my usage of RSC material? How? I am not sure I or they know what you are asking for. In any case my Library has higher priorities so effectively I am stalled from content-mining RSC material.

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