Proposal for ancillary copyright for publishers threatens Open Access and Open Science

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In July, ITRE Committee voted on an opinion that proposes to extend the ancillary copyright for publishers beyond the press, to include also academic publishers (read our commentary from July). In response, a large group of European academic, library, education, research and digital rights communities has published an open letter on Wednesday. In it, they point out that the proposed law will threaten Open Science and Open Access, and directly contradict the EU’s own ambitions in these fields.

Communia Association is one of the signatories of this letter. We are urging other organisations, especially those active in the fields of Open Access and Open Science, to express their support by signing this letter. Additional signatures will be collected until 1st October – you can sign the letter using this form.

Ancillary copyright extended

Ancillary copyright for publishers, a new right to collect payments and to control the use of headlines and snippets of news articles, has been one of the most controversial parts of the Proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Both the rapporteur in the JURI Committee and the Estonian EU Presidency currently support this flawed proposal . They do so despite heavy criticism – not just from civil society, academia and libraries, or digital economy companies, but even from some of the Member States.

Press and academic publishers have completely different business models, based on different value creation chains. While press openly publishes content on the Web, academic publishers sell the works of academics at a hefty price, and with a heavy markup. Angelika Niebler, Herbert Reul and Christian Ehler, ITRE members who proposed the amendment that extended the right to academic publishers, have provided no rationale for granting this new right also to academic publishers. They also failed to explain why they are supporting a regulation that will create burdensome and harmful restrictions on access to scientific research and data, as well as on the fundamental rights of freedom of information.

A threat to Open Access

A new right to control and monetise use of snippets of academic articles would significantly limit the sharing of open access publications and data which currently are freely available for use and reuse in further scientific advances. For example, researchers, students and other users of scientific and scholarly journal articles could be forced to ask permission or pay fees to the publisher for including short quotations from a research paper in other scientific publications. The proposed ancillary right further conflicts with the Berne Convention’s Article 10(1), which provides a mandatory exception for quotation, as well as posing risks to freedom of speech.

Support our joint open letter for Open Access and Open Science

Signatories of the letter urge the Legal Affairs Committee to remove Articles 11 and 13 from the draft Directive. Furthermore, the Committee should ensure that Articles 3 to 9 support new forms of research and education and not work against them. Furthermore, we hope that the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States will chose to uphold Europe’s commitment to Open Science and Open Access.

Please sign the open letter.

 

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