…and they show overwhelming support for the introduction of a mandatory copyright exception for text and data mining for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Back in September, we launched a blog poll on the potential introduction of a mandatory text and data mining exception. We asked our blog readers their views on the following statements:

  1. An exception on copyright is necessary to allow TDM for research purposes- Yes/No
  2. Any research purpose should be allowed under this provision, whether commercial or non-commercial – Yes/No
  3. Contractual parties should not be able to override this exception by contract – Yes/No
  4. The database directive should be abolished – Yes/No

One would naturally expect the research community to be strongly in support of a TDM exception, as evidence suggests that Europe’s strict copyright rules have a negative impact on text and data mining activities in academic research compared to other countries with more flexible copyright regimes (see this article). However, given the very diverse readership of our blog, it is very interesting that respondents were still strongly in favour, with over 85% supporting the introduction of such an exception. Perhaps even more surprisingly, 70% of respondents believe that any research purpose should be allowed – commercial or non-commercial. This supports the suggestion in my September article that a useful basis for a TDM exception could be found in article 5(3) of the Computer Programs Directive (2009/24/EC), which similarly does not distinguish between commercial and non-commercial use. The need for a mandatory exception on data mining was further supported by the response to our third question – over 85% of respondents believe that it should not be made possible to override such an exception by contractual terms.

Our final question related to the database directive. I postulated in my September post that one solution to the problem of how to introduce a TDM exception to the database right would be the fairly extreme step of repealing the directive altogether. Notably, this suggestion also found support amongst our readers, with 66% agreeing that the directive should be abolished. Confirmation, if any were needed, that this directive has not achieved what legislators had originally hoped it would.

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