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Event recap - Exploring the European Context of Copyright Reform

Jan 26, 2023
On December 15th, OpenAIRE launched a three-part event series focusing on surveying the European, US and global copyright landscape. The series is an OpenAIRE initiative recognizing the significance of copyright within the Open Science agenda and aims at examining the inner workings of the current copyright systems and addressing key questions; do current systems provide equitable compensation to all involved parties? Is copyright reform needed? If so, should it be radical or incremental? We bring together all important actors and stakeholder groups involved to engage in a meaningful and action-oriented debate about forging the future of copyright within the context of Open Science.

The first workshop brought together policy makers, legal scholars, and academic publishers to outline the European context of copyright reform. The panelists were asked to address whether now is the time of substantial copyright reform or we are entering a phase of legislative fatigue that requires a more incremental approach. The panel also delved into the current copyright models in place and what kind of legislative reform or policy changes would they require for a sustainable, equitable and fair management of copyrights. Below you can find the key takeaways of the discussion provided by each of the speakers:


Alea López de San Román, Legal & Policy Officer for the European Commission highlighted the importance and urgency of Open Science for the European Commission and shared some priorities (including legislative action) of the European Research Area Policy Agenda plans (link to the report here).

Ignasi Labastida, Open Access director at the University of Barcelona, shared the institutional standpoint, describing it as caught between a rock and a hard place as despite the best efforts to share knowledge, universities’ and research libraries’ efforts are often hindered by publisher copyright conditions but also funders’ requirements.

From the publisher standpoint, Rod Cookson, managing director of IWA publishing, suggested that the space for libraries, institutions, funders should be created to come together and agree on mechanisms for funding socially used for publishing and criteria to decide where and how revenue should be allocated. 

For Roger Van Zwanenberg, Publisher, Pluto Journals, copyright is at the heart of the problem. He stressed that when a publication is open, it hugely increases the readership but in the landscape of open the income is decreased which is highly unusual in the capitalistic setting. Security of the future is challenged in the open access setting.

Thomas Margoni, Research Prof. of Intellectual Property Law, KU Leuven, focused the discussion on the role of the publishers and how this role has shifted in recent years due to technology, as the question of what space remains for commercial academic publishing is still pertinent. 

Roberto Caso, Trento LawTech Group, University of Trento, pointed out that this is a question not only about the control of infrastructure, the control of data but also a question of the research assessment reform. You can read his article on Open Data, Scientific Research and Privatization of Knowledge (in Italian) here.

Closing off with Prodomos Tsiavos, OpenAIRE legal counsel, stressed that the legal basis for the European research area is of high importance. The discussion and debate surrounding scholarly communication is a lot broader than just funders and publishers which is why it is crucial that all stakeholder groups get a seat at the table and forge copyright models within the context of Open Science.

Missed out on the live discussion? You can watch the recording of the session here.
Interested in attending our future C4OS events? You can already register for our final hybrid event that will be in Athens, on February 9th here.

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OpenAIRE has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreements No. 777541 and 101017452 (see all).

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