Brussels, 4 July 2013 – On the occasion of today’s Licences for Europe (L4E) “plenary” meeting, the C4C Coalition urges the European Commission to take a stock of the L4E process to date, and to have the courage to admit that the next steps in the process finally need to ensure a real dialogue, looking at all available options to bolster Europe’s innovation and growth in general, and more specifically that of its SMEs, research centres and libraries. See our 4th of July Declaration.
‘Surely the Commission cannot intend to muddle through a process whose focus on licensing only satisfies a narrow set of participants’, said Caroline De Cock, coordinator of the C4C Coalition. ‘If the process continues along the same flawed lines, only an empty shell will be left and we will look back on this time as a huge missed opportunity for Europe to promote innovation through copyright flexibility. Our 4th of July Declaration tries to rectify this by offering a constructive way forward, that looks at balanced ways to improve accessibility of information and content – of which licensing is only one mechanism’.
The Text and Data Mining Working Group of the L4E process has proven to be a major source of dissatisfaction. The clear failure of this group is a particular disappointment, considering it is about the future of research and data-driven innovation in Europe – including in the area of medical discoveries – and about jobs, growth and reduction of costs (a McKinsey report estimates that government expenditure in Europe could be reduced by €100 billion a year thanks to effective use of ‘big data’).
On February 26th, over 60 organisations addressed a letter to European Commission Vice-President Kroes and Commissioners Barnier, Geoghegan-Quinn and Vassiliou voicing their concerns. As no changes were made, several organisations withdrew from the TDM Working Group on May 22nd, includingthe Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER), the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), the European Bureau of Library Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN), Communia, Ubiquity Press Ltd, the Trans‐Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), the National Centre for Text Mining, the University of Manchester (NaCTeM), the European Network for Copyright in support of Education and Science (ENCES), and Jisc, followed shortly thereafter by the European Research Infrastructure Consortium on Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN ERIC).
Licences for Europe was announced in the Communication on Content in the Digital Single Market (18 December 2012) and is a joint initiative led by Commissioners Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services), Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) and Androulla Vassiliou (Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth) to “deliver rapid progress in bringing content online through practical industry‐led solutions”.
Licences for Europe aims to engage stakeholders in four areas:
- Cross‐border access and the portability of services;
- User‐generated content and licensing;
- Audiovisual sector and cultural heritage; and,
- Text and Data Mining (TDM).
About the C4C Coalition
Created in 2010, C4C is a broad-based coalition that seeks an informed debate on how copyright can more effectively promote innovation, access, and creativity. A short infographic summarising what C4C stands for can be found here, and the C4C declaration is available here.
Caroline De Cock
Kreupelstraat 33, 1703 Dilbeek (Brussels), Belgium
T : +32 (0)474 840515
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