ITRE deceives itself by attacking research and open access  21/07/2017 by Tom Hirche

Already three out of five EP Committees have voted on their opinion on the Commission's Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. So far it seems we are heading into a future where a European wide publisher's right will be present. One particular Committee even tries to directly attack open access publishing.

Most ironically, it is the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) that decided to remove the exception for academic and scientific publications so that they will be covered by the publisher's right. The ITRE – who would have thought it – is responsible for the promotion of research among other things. But it looks like the Committee's members have been completely brainwashed by the publishers' lobbyists and thus simply forgot what their actual job is.

The consequence of this little change to the Commission's initial proposal will be that publishers of scientific or academic publications have to be asked for permission and that they can demand users to pay a fee for the use of even short snippets. Combined with the ITRE's other proposed change to extend the publisher's right to cover all uses – digital and in print – instead of digital only, this new right will have a terrible impact on research and the sharing of knowledge.

Timothy Vollmer from Communia comments:

"Both additions contravene the Commission’s original reasoning for why the proposal aligns with the principle of proportionality. [...] This type of arrangement is completely antithetical to longstanding norms in scientific research and scholarly communications. And it could affect how academic publications are discovered online within search engines like Google Scholar, or other types of aggregators related to scholarly outputs."

It is unclear to what extent open access publishing will be affected. Countless initiatives have worked hard to promote the implementation of open access policies. More and more public and private institutions see the advantages and understand how we as a society benefit from open access. Scientific research, progress and education are too important topics that we cannot expose to this massive legal uncertainty imposed by foolish proposals. Up to this day, publishers fail to explain why they necessarily need the new right and why a much less invasive presumption of representation will not be sufficient. This madness has to be stopped immediately.

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