Keynote – Catherine Stihler MEP
The EU copyright reform – a missed opportunity?
Libraries are not just about lending books anymore, they empower European citizens of all ages to develop and create the skills, knowledge and ideas they need to participate fully and independently in our society. From providing informal and life-long learning possibilities to shaping innovative research by promoting a greater uptake of text and data mining activities and the implementation of Open Access, libraries have undergone an unparalleled digital metamorphosis, especially given their often modest resources.
The ongoing EU copyright reform will be crucial to libraries across the EU. It will either help this metamorphosis to continue or hamper it. Time is ticking. The Legal Affairs Committee at the European Parliament plans to vote on this file by the end of March/April this year. In theory, this could mean the European Parliament would then have a plenary vote sometime in the summer. As important subjects, such as the mandatory EU TDM exception, use of works in cross-border teaching activities, preservation of cultural heritage and the use of out-of-commerce works are currently being discussed in the lead committee, has the voice of the libraries been sufficiently heard? Although Catherine has tried to defend the interests of libraries as much as she could in her own report (for an opinion-giving committee), it is by no means certain the lead committee will adopt the same approach.
In her presentation Catherine will deliberate on how the debate looks like in the European Parliament and what we could still do to improve the end outcome. Europe’s libraries and research libraries have so much potential to become true platforms for innovative publishing; hubs for digital skills, services, humanities and cultural heritage, and it will be a gross missed opportunity if we impede this from happening by adopting copyright reforms simply not fit for the digital age