“Licences4Europe” has not accepted “The Right to Read is the Right to Mine”

One sentence summary (this link has all the documentation)


Stakeholders representing the research sector, SMEs and open access publishers withdraw from Licences for Europe


 

I have formally been a member of EC-L4E-WG4 a working group of the European Commission concentrating on Text and Data Mining (TDM, though I prefer "Content Mining"). I haven't attended meetings (due to date clashes) but Ross Mounce has stood in for me and given brilliant presentations). The initial idea of the WG was to facilitate TDM as an added value to conventional publications and other sources. (The current problem is that copyright can be interpreted as forbidding TDM). When I and others joined this effort it was on the assumption that we would be looking for positive ways forward to encourage TDM.

When I buy a book I can do what I like with it. I can write on it.

from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marginalia ) I can cut it up into bits. I can give/sell the book to someone else. I can give/sell the cut-out bits to someone else. I can stick the cut-out bits into a new book. I can transcribe the factual content. I can do almost anything other than copy non-facts.

With scholarly articles I can't do any of this. I cannot own an article, I can only rent it. (Appalling concession #1 by Universities went completely unnoticed – I shall blog more). I cannot extract facts from it. (Even more Appalling concession #2 by Universities went completely unnoticed – I shall blog more). So the publishers have dictated to Universities that we cannot anything with the 10,000,000,000 USD we give to the publishers each year.

The publishers are now proposing that if we want to use any of OUR content (which we have already paid for) we should pay the publishers MORE. That TDM is an "added service" provided by publishers. It's not. I can TDM without any help from the publishers. The only thing the publishers are doing is holding us to ransom.

If you don't feel this is unjust and counterproductive stop reading. Back to "Licences for Europe"…

The L4E group has had no chance to set the group assumptions. From the outset the chair has insisted that this group is "L4E", licences for Europe. The default premise is that document producers can and should add additional restrictions through licences. In short – we have fought this publicly and the chair has failed to listen to us, let alone consider our arguments. Who are we?

  • The Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER)
  • The Coalition for a Digital Economy
  • European Bureau of Library Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA)
  • The Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Communia
  • Ubiquity Press Ltd.
  • Trans‐Atlantic Consumer Dialogue
  • National Centre for Text Mining, University of Manchester
  • European Network for Copyright in support of Education and Science (ENCES)
  • Jisc

Not a lightweight list. Here's the formal history:

We welcomed the orientation debate by the Commission in December 2012 and the subsequent commitment to adapt the copyright framework to the digital age. We believe that any meaningful engagement on the legal framework within which data driven innovation exists must, as a point of centrality, address the issue of limitations and exceptions. Having placed licensing as the central pillar of the discussion, the "Licences for Europe" Working Group has not made this focused evaluation possible. Instead, the dialogue on limitations and exceptions is only taking place through the refracted lens of licensing. This incorrectly presupposes that additional relicensing of already licensed content (i.e. double licensing) – and by implication also licensing of the open internet– is the solution to the rapid adoption of TDM technology.

We wrote expressing our concerns (March 14) – some sentences (highlighting is mine):

10. Data driven innovation requires the lowest barriers possible to reusing content. Requiring the relicensing of copyright works one already has lawful access to for a non - competing use is entirely disproportionate, and raises strong ethical questions as it will affect what computer based medical and scientific research can and cannot be undertaken in the EU.

11. A situation where each proposed TDM based research or use of content, to which one already has lawful access, has to be submitted for approval is unscalable*, and will raise barriers to research and reduce online innovation. It will slow medical discoveries and data driven innovation inexorably, and will only serve to drive jobs, research, health and wealth - creation elsewhere.

12. For the full potential of data driven innovation to become a reality, a limitation and exception that allows text and data mining for any purposes, which cannot be over - ridden by private contracts is required in EU law.

13. Subject to point 3, we must be able to share the results of text and data mining with no hindrances irrespective of copyright laws or licensing terms to the contrary. 14. In the European information society, the right to read must be the right to mine.

(I am particularly pleased that my phrase "the right to read must be the right to mine" expresses our message succinctly.

Unfortunately the response (http://www.libereurope.eu/sites/default/files/130316-researchers-reply-signed.pdf ) was anodyne and platitudinal ("win-win solutions for all stakeholders"). It became clear that this group could not make any useful progress and at worse would legitimize the interests of the "content owners".

So we have withdrawn.

Having placed licensing as the central pillar of the discussion, the "Licences for Europe" Working Group has not made this focused evaluation possible. Instead, the dialogue on limitations and exceptions is only taking place through the refracted lens of licensing. This incorrectly presupposes that additional relicensing of already licensed content (i.e. double licensing) – and by implication also licensing of the open internet– is the solution to the rapid adoption of TDM technology.

Therefore, we can no longer participate in the "Licences for Europe" process. We maintain that a vibrant internet and a healthy scholarly publishing community need not be at odds with a modern copyright framework that also allows for the barrier - free extraction of facts and data. We have already expressed this view sufficiently well within the Working Group.

And we have concerns about transparency.

We would like to reiterate our request for transparency around the "Licences for Europe" dialogue and kindly request that the following actions be taken:

  • That the list of organisations participating in all of the "Licenses for Europe" Working Groups be made publicly available on the "Licences for Europe" website;
  • That the date of withdrawal for organisations leaving the process is also recorded on this list;
  • That it is made clear on any final documents that the outputs from the working group on TDM are not endorsed by our organisations and communities.

 

If you feel that we have a right to mine our information, then help us fight for it. Because inaction simply hands our rights to vested interests.

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2 Responses to “Licences4Europe” has not accepted “The Right to Read is the Right to Mine”

  1. Peter,

    you wrote "I cannot extract facts from it. (Even more Appalling concession #2 by Universities..."

    I hope you mean at least only doing it with an algorithm, automatically (TDM). Or did somebody actually sign a license(!)/contract forbidding "manual" scraping of numbers from printed (PDFed) tables?

    Hans

    • pm286 says:

      Yes I mean automatically. I am also not allowed to index the papers by machine. Isn't that bad enough?

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