Statutory Instruments on Research Education and Libraries: copyright exceptions, including text and data mining

On the last day of the last parliamentary session the House of Lords managed to complete its debate on copyright exceptions. 

Viscount Younger, the Minister for Intellectual Property, said that some of the exceptions that would be introduced will still ‘continue to require permission to be asked of rightsholders’ and that measures would be taken to ensure that rightsholders’ rights are protected.  He repeated a statement made by David Willetts, the Minister for Higher Education, that making it mandatory for academic publishers to allow text and data mining ‘will not stop rightsholders imposing controls on the way that researchers access material, such as reasonable limits on download speeds’.

Lord Clement-Jones, who was broadly on the side of publishers, said that the post-implementation consequences should be reviewed no later than 2019 and urged the government to review earlier and respond effectively if ‘any negative potential’ (i.e., publishers’ loss of revenues) was being realised.  He added that ‘…new licensing and technology means there is only a limited case for exceptions.  There has been a great deal of development since Hargreaves reported, but government have insisted on ignoring the principle that exceptions should not be used where licencing exists’.  Lord Howarth said that he was entirely opposed to both copyright and intellectual property.  ‘Licensing costs are the costs of monopoly – the balance has swung too far in the interest of creators.’  (It would be interesting to know if he holds the same view about creators of, say, patented aircraft engines.)

Viscount Younger again promised that the exception wouldn’t interfere with rightsholders’ ability to employ measures to maintain security and stability – though it is not clear how the principle tool recommended, the restriction on download speeds, alone will achieve this.