Press release: European Copyright Communication – Will the Commission keep its promises?

10 December 2015

Author: OpenForum Europe

Yesterday, the Commission published its long-awaited Communication for a modern European copyright framework. This was one of the ten priorities of President Juncker, and this Communication sets the scene for upcoming policy action.

OpenForum Europe (OFE) welcomes the intention of the Commission to ensure that the EU framework on exceptions is relevant for access to knowledge, education and research, and is adapted for the digital age.

Specifically concerning text and data mining (TDM), allowing organisations to mine content to which they have lawful access is a request that various stakeholders have often expressed. We are however concerned by the fact that the Commission seems to be limiting these permitted mining activities to ‘public interest research organisations’ and to ‘scientific purposes’. The Communication does not address the cases of citizens, scientists and companies, and also leaves unaddressed the fact that much scientific research today happens in partnerships with private companies or is funded from public-private funds. OFE expects that the legislative proposals which are to be published in the spring of 2016 will include a mandatory TDM exception (as currently promised by the Commission), and that the Commission’s intention to “take into account the relevant […] licensing practices” will not nullify recognition of the principle “the right to read is the right to mine”, reflected in the current Communication.

Hopefully, the actual legislative proposals expected in spring 2016, and their subsequent implementation, will reflect the current promises of the Commission

When adopting measures that aim to achieve a well-functioning marketplace for copyright, the Commission’s intent to redefine the terms ‘communicating to the public’ and ‘making available’ should be sentient of how this will affect the market structure and the internet ecosystem as a whole. OFE hopes that in this process, the Commission will take into account the various recent preliminary rulings of the CJEU which bring legal certainty as to what these legal concepts mean. The Communication also underlines that the Commission will consider whether any action specific to news aggregators is needed. This hints at the possible emulation of the Spanish and German ancillary copyright legislative measures. OFE is concerned that a proposal on snippet tax would ignore both the failures of such measures introduced in these Member States, together with the stakeholders’ and several MEPs’ recurring demands not to adopt such measure at the EU level.

“This is the first stone on a long path aimed to give both users and rightholders much-improved legal certainty, through the introduction of up-to-date and future-proof new rules”, said Diana Cocoru, Senior Policy Analyst at OpenForum Europe. “Hopefully, the actual legislative proposals expected in spring 2016, and their subsequent implementation, will reflect the current promises of the Commission and ensure that Europe enjoys a modern copyright legal framework, allowing it more effectively to unleash its innovative potential”, she further added.


For more information, please contact OFE’s CEO Graham Taylor at or OFE’s Senior Policy Analyst Diana Cocoru at +32 2 210 02 92 or

About OpenForum Europe

(OFE) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, supported by major IT suppliers including Google, IBM, Oracle and Red Hat, as well as SMEs, user and consumer organisations, and national partners across Europe. It focuses on delivering an open, competitive ICT market. Views expressed by OFE do not necessarily reflect those held by all its supporters.