Defend text and data mining in Europe
European legislators should defend Europe’s ability to innovate using the power of data analysis

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European legislators should defend Europe’s ability to generate opportunities using the power of data analysis, not drive researchers to other parts of the world that have more supportive legal frameworks.

That’s the strong message in an open letter sent to members of the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee by 28 organizations, including EIFL, from the public and private sectors representing universities and research organizations, journalists, large technology companies and start-ups, as well as libraries.

The letter calls on the Legal Affairs Committee, that is discussing amendments to the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM), to create a proper legal framework for text and data mining (TDM) in Europe.

The letter urges the Committee to support a globally competitive European research ecosystem by allowing TDM to be carried out in a variety of research institutions, both public and private, and for a range of research purposes, both commercial and non-commercial. In the real world, restricting TDM to certain types of institutions for certain types of research is unworkable and harms innovation.


In summary, four amendments are needed to fix the provision in the draft DSM directive. The scope of Article 3.1 should be broadened to include any person (natural or legal) that has lawful access to the content. Neither licence terms nor technical measures should be allowed to restrict use of the exception, or even nullify it altogether. Datasets created for the purposes of TDM should be allowed to be stored on secure servers for verification (in line with good research practices).

TDM adds value. It is the building block for machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). As the European Commission prepares to launch a comprehensive initiative on AI, ahead of Digital Day 2018, without robust built-in support for TDM in Europe, any such initiative to harness the many opportunities of AI technology, are seriously scuppered.

Click here to download a PDF of the letter.

Check the European Alliance for Research Excellence (EARE) for updates.