EU copyright, quo vadis?

This month our copyright expert Eugen attended a one day conference in Brussels to keep up to date with the latest developments in Intellectual Property law. “EU copyright, quo vadis? From the EU copyright package to the challenges of Artificial Intelligence” was a one-day conference held at Université Saint-Louis in Brussels on 25th May 2018. It was organised by the European Copyright Society, which is a platform for critical and independent scholarly thinking on European Copyright Law and policy.

There were over 100 participants from almost every European country and almost every area where Intellectual Property has an important contribution: many academics and researchers, practitioners from law firms such as Allen & Overy, consultants from Deloitte, media companies such as Channel 4 Television, ARD or Google, collective societies as ZAiKS Poland and from law courts such as the Ghent Court of Appeal.

The morning session was focused on the ongoing reform of the EU Copyright, the directive proposal that will be debated in the EU Parliament on 21 June 2018. There were presentations (text & data mining, education & libraries, the newly created right for press publishers) by academics highlighting the improvements brought by this proposal and its numerous shortcomings followed by interesting debates between the audience and a group of officials from the European Commission (Copyright Unit I.2, DG CNECT) invited to explain their vision and defend their point of view. Despite this, the general opinion in the room was that the copyright landscape will be polarised between rights-holders, who’s position will be greatly strengthened and enhanced, and a strictly regulated ‘small island of free access’ limited to libraries and universities and not much in between. Some participants were so critical of this proposed directive that they label it as ‘not fit for purpose’.

In the afternoon, the speakers discussed about the looming challenges that Artificial Intelligence (AI) poses to various key notions of copyright therefore the debates were both dry and technical. One particularly interesting debate was about the (proposed) ownership of copyright in machine generated data. Some participants commented that from the point of view of the European car-manufacturers this will balance out the GDPR (which prevents them to use data generated by increasingly sophisticated automobiles) while also preventing overseas competitors to use this data when designing autonomous cars.

There was also a book launch – P.B. Hugenholtz (ed.), Copyright Reconstructed, 2018 (with contributions of five members of the European Copyright Society).

It was extremely interesting to hear the strengths and weaknesses of the forthcoming EU copyright directive and to have a fairly clear idea of what is to come. The conference being organised in Brussels (this year) ensured a wide participation which vigorously (and belatedly) tested the EU officials. It will definitely help if academics and organisations like European Copyright Society, as a part of the civil society, will be more involved in the EU legislative process.

OAI9

Last week I attended the CERN Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (OAI9) in Geneva, a workshop looking at developments in scholarly communication, it was a diverse programme and attracted people from all sectors of scholarly communication,  here are some of my highlights from each day;

Day One – Beginning the first day were a choice of tutorials,  I elected  the institution as publisher: getting started presented by UCL who are the first fully Open Access University Press in the UK. This offers a real alternative to commercial publishers, at the moment the majority of UCL Press authors are internal, external authors are liable to pay an APC.

The Keynote by Michael Nielsen, Beyond Open Access, looked at how open access policies should be crafted so they don’t inhibit innovation by constraining experimentation, new media forms and different types of publication. Following this was the session Looking at Barriers and Impact, Erin McKiernan, who is an early career researcher talked about her own experience and barriers she has faced in accessing research, she has made a pledge to be open, her opinion was early career researchers are in a position to be game changers in terms of making their research open. Finally Joseph McArthur, talked about the Open Access button  helping readers find open access versions of research outputs, this is a tool created by young people who frequently faced barriers to accessing research.

Day Two – The second day of the workshop was held at the Campus Biotech

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The first session looked at Open Science Workflows, CHORUS and SHARE, Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer from Utrecht gave a really interesting presentation on the changing workflow of research – they had three goals for science and scholarship – Open, Efficient, Good. We should be supporting open science instead of just open access leading to diminishing traditional journals. This was highlighted using a diagram they created – 101 innovations in scholarly communication, highlighting the patterns and processes of innovation in this field.  This is an ongoing survey of scholarly communication tool usage – part of an ongoing effort to chart the changing landscape of scholarly communication.

Following this session was Quality Assurance, focusing on researchers and reforming the peer review process. Janne-Tuomas Seppanen from Peerage of Science  stated that some peer reviews are excellent – some are not, Peerage of Science tries to address this by the scoring of peer reviews, the idea being that peer reviewers are themselves peer reviewed increasing and quantifying the quality of peer review. This service is free for academics and publishers pay. Andrew Preston from Publons is looking at speeding up science by making peer review faster, more efficient, and more effective. The incentive for reviewers? Making peer review a measurable research output.

I also attended the break out session on Copyright in Data and Text Mining which gave an overview of the legal framework and an introduction to The Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age launched in May this year which ‘aims to foster agreement about how to best enable access to facts, data and ideas for knowledge discovery in the Digital Age. By removing barriers to accessing and analysing the wealth of data produced by society, we can find answers to great challenges such as climate change, depleting natural resources and globalisation.’

The second day of the workshop ended in style at the Ariana,  the Swiss museum of glass and ceramics which opened its doors especially for attendees of OAI9.

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Day Three – The focus of the first session was the Institution as Publisher, a new theme for OAI. Catriona Maccallum from PLOS focused on the need for transparency, publishing is a cycle, not just about content provision. The services an institution can offer include; Open Access, Open Access Presses, transparency, assessment, rewards and incentives, she went on to say the institution should be driving changes. Rupert Gatti, Open Book Publisher talked about bringing publishing to a research centre level, open access allows direct dissemination to a different audience and would allow authors to disseminate not just books and articles but other types of scholarly output.The Final speaker in this session, Victoria Tsoukala from National Documentation Centre, National Hellenic Research Foundation talked specifically about open access publishing in the Humanities and gave an overview of University led publishing within her institution looking at the various challenges (funding, outputs being perceived as poorer quality) and the opportunities (ability to regain control, innovation, transparency and fairness and assuming new roles for libraries).

If you’re interested in finding out more, all the presentations are available online by clicking through the programme.