Help shape the new copyright law in your country; the ship has already set sail: don’t be left behind

27th May 2019News, Open Access, Open Science

As reported in March 2019, a new copyright directive for the digital single market has been approved for Europe and will legally come into force on 7 June 2019. All Member States are obliged to transpose this new legislation into national law in the coming 2 years. You can influence how this takes shape.

COAR, EIFL, EUA, IFLA, EBLIDA, LIBER, Science Europe and SPARC Europe have been working to influence legislators on a European level to support the interests of Open Science, research and the library community. This group met on 7-8 May to discuss how to prepare for the implementation phase. The final success or failure of this Directive will depend to a large extent on decisions made at the national level since there is significant room for interpretation in the way the new rules may be applied. As a coalition we are committed to continuing to help implement this in the interests of the research and library community, but your support will also be essential.

The goal

Our goal is to enable the most positive and aligned transposition of DSM in the interest of research and the cultural heritage sector.

Providing you with international support

We are committed to providing support on an international level for the effective implementation of the directive. This includes exploring further expansion of the above-mentioned coalition to include museums and archives.

For the most efficient and effective transposition of the law across all European countries, it is critical to share knowledge between Member States. To do this, we will need to provide support on both an organisational and substantive, granular level. First and foremost, on an organisational level, we will need to engage with key experts in each Member State; experts who have a sound legal competence and an understanding of cultural heritage needs will be critical in helping influence national lawmakers implementation of the directive as optimally as possible. We will locate these persons by drawing on existing national networks where they exist such as in the UK or the Netherlands, or we will help identify new influencers where such advocacy networks are less developed. We are reaching out to you to ask you to share names of such organisations or experts in your country who we can connect to for this purpose. Please send names, affiliations and contact emails to and we will add them to a growing list of experts that the coalition is building.

In turn, the European coalition will provide these Member State experts with background on the development of the legislation and provide them with guidance on what to apply, and how, in the interests of cultural heritage and research. Substantively, we also need to gain an understanding of current related legislation in Europe’s Member States and then collect lessons learnt from the transposition into national law, highlighting good and less advisable practices from and for this newly derived network of experts. Whilst monitoring progress in the transposition process amongst Member States, we fully comprehend that what works in one country may not work in another; thus, understanding and communicating a country’s particularities will be key when sharing this knowledge.

What you can do to ensure the library or research voice is heard and applied

Library leaders, advocates, and legal experts who understand the needs of the research and cultural heritage communities have an active role to play ensuring that our interests are not side-lined in the implementation process. As leaders in the scholarly communications community you can help achieve optimal implementation of the new rules in a way that fits your national context and your Open Science needs. Now is the time to make your voice heard; publisher lobbies will be strong, as will those of other commercial service providers. We must not get left behind since the ship has already set sail.

What you can do is attend and engage in government consultations that apply to those parts of the directive that relate to your work. Importantly, by sharing concrete implementation stories of lessons learned from colleagues in other countries, you will be able to prepare for potentially challenging aspects of the directive. Furthermore, the coalition is planning a series of workshops to help support you in the implementation of this and other library-related legislation such as PSI, to equip you with the strategic and practical advocacy tools to influence national lawmakers. Our first workshop will be held just prior to the LIBER Conference in June in Dublin 2019. We will discuss how policy engagement can benefit you personally, as well as your institution and sector and how we can support you through guidance, good practices, practical steps and tools. We will also explore what you can do to shape policy effectively, drawing on the experiences of fellow participants.

For a summary of the wins for cultural heritage in the new copyright directive, see our previous blog post.

Please send us names of contacts you might have in your country who can help influence lawmakers on your behalf as mentioned above, so that we can connect them with peers from other countries on the same issue.

If you’d like to get more involved, please let us know; we’d love to hear from you. And if you would like more information before consider attending the LIBER workshop.