Print of a female figure holds her own eyes open with her fingers. With her right hand she opens a chest with books, snakes and a bat. Behind the coffin stands a second woman with a burning torch: the light of truth. There is a devil on the right. Above part of a wall painting with signs of the zodiac and gods (cropped).

On 6th of March, from 1500h to 1700h, COMMUNIA will host the “Unlocking Knowledge Conference” at Town Hall Europe, which will bring together academics, representatives of civil society and EU policymakers to discuss how to enable knowledge institutions to play a bigger part in creating a flourishing information ecosystem.

Knowledge institutions – educational, research, and cultural heritage institutions – play an important role in enabling citizens to access information and contribute to an environment that encourages innovation and the creation of new knowledge. Yet these institutions are frequently not considered when drafting new legislation and their concerns often remain unaddressed, resulting in countless barriers hindering their missions due to a lack of harmonisation, legal uncertainty and fear of litigation.

Due to the complexity of copyright legislation in Europe, researchers are often incentivised to limit the scope of their projects or even abstain from certain research activities to minimise legal risk. This climate of uncertainty can have a visible, negative impact on the scientific output as potential sources may be disregarded or available data remain unused. Several countries across the world, including the United States and Israel have recognised this problem and adopted provisions allowing researchers to avoid this chilling effect by providing for a limitation of liability for specific organisations, but what is the way forward for the EU?

Furthermore, knowledge institutions increasingly have to rely on licences to use content for research and education. Unfortunately, licensing negotiations are often underpinned by a clear imbalance of power. In the “best” case, this leaves knowledge institutions no choice other than to accept the licensing terms dictated by the right holder. In the “worst case”, right holders can outright refuse to licence content to institutions, as is often the case when libraries try to licence eBooks from publishers. This form of abusive behaviour towards knowledge institutions commonly prevents perfectly lawful research activities, so how can the EU step in to empower knowledge institutions vis-a-vis right holders?

We will discuss these issues across two panels featuring academics, representatives of civil society and policymakers and invite you to stay afterwards to network and exchange ideas over some finger food and wine.

View our event page for the full agenda and speaker list, or register now to join us in person on 6th March.

Disclaimer: Clicking on the registration link will direct you to a Google Form and may lead to data being collected by and shared with third parties. Proceed only if you agree.

A satire on the art business in which art experts and dealers who assess paintings are depicted as donkeys. After the drawing by Trémolières in the Hessisches Landes Museum in Darmstadt (cropped).
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