DIGITAL SME calls EU Parliament to ease data analytics by SMEs

Digital SMEs that do business with data analytics are at risk. The EU Parliament is due to adopt the Copyright Directive, which contains a provision that limits access to text and data mining (TDM) for companies. If approved, the directive would force companies that already got lawful and licenced access to a document – to pay an additional licence for data mining.

These limitations to text and data mining would seriously reduce the opportunity for small and medium companies to do business with data analytics. European companies will be discouraged from data mining in the EU. In addition, this would create even better conditions for foreign companies located outside the EU, including Silicon Valley giants, to further expand their operations in the European market’ – commented Oliver Grün, President of European DIGITAL SME Alliance. ‘We co-signed a public letter addressing the European Parliament, and asking to eliminate these provisions on text and data mining from the Copyright Directive. If Europe wants to lead the data revolution, it has to create a favorable environment for SMEs to do it’ – he concluded.

Text and data mining (TDM) is an innovative automated technique used for the exploration and processing of large amounts of text and data. It allows to discover patterns, trends and other valuable information. TDM is used in various sectors ranging from healthcare, machine learning to marketing and weather prediction.

At the moment, there is no legislation regarding TDM in the European Union. No limitations exist in neither the United States, or other big markets (China, Japan, etc.). Yet, the draft version of the Copyright Directive considers TDM as an infringement of copyrights. This means that companies willing to perform the TDM would have to buy additional licenses in order to do so. The only exception is provisioned for non-commercial research institutions and start-ups within the first three years from their foundation.

TDM is not about enabling access to copyrighted material for free, and it is not an attack on Intellectual Property and European creation. To put it simply, if someone has the right to read content, then he/she should have the right to understand and analyse that content when computers are used for assistance’ – explains the open letter signed by the European DIGITAL SME Alliance with a dozen other European organisations representing universities, ICT providers, research institutions, etc.