There is a contradiction between the Copyright Act and the Cultural Materials Act, which in practice prevents the use of the National Library’s materials by new and efficient mechanical research methods.
Government a proposal to amend the Copyright Act is currently under discussion. The proposal aims to transpose into national law the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Internal Market adopted by the European Union in 2019.
The Directive protects the rights of authors but also contains important exceptions designed to ensure that copyright does not impede scientific research.
Also the government’s proposal in the opinion round includes a clause guaranteeing researchers the right to make copies of the works required by the research. However, the right does not extend to all material, but there is a contradiction between the Copyright Act and the Cultural Material Act, which in practice prevents the use of the National Library’s materials by new and efficient mechanical research methods.
The collections of the National Library cover all material published in Finland in printed and audio form, books and magazines published electronically, as well as an online archive in which websites, changing news content of magazines and social media are stored.
The accumulation of collections is based on the Act on the Deposit and Preservation of Cultural Materials. The law also obliges the National Library to make the material available to researchers. The Copyright Act, on the other hand, limits access to client terminals located in six free copy libraries, from which the copying of material in digital form is prohibited.
Ten over the past year, research methods have radically expanded as machine-assisted data mining has risen to a central position in research alongside traditional proximity. These methods can process materials covering up to millions of works as a whole, looking for structures that cannot be reached by conventional reading of individual works.
However, the implementation of such a study in practice requires the production of a temporary digital copy in a computing environment, which is therefore not possible under current law and the government proposal.
It would be it is very important that future legislation also makes it possible to apply new digital research methods to material stored under the Cultural Materials Act. Copying of material for research can be done in ways that prevent the dissemination of copyrighted material outside the research environment.
No One Benefits from a situation where outdated articles prevent the full utilization of valuable research data based on the latest methods in science.
Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Science Interaction, university of Helsinki
Assistant Professor of Data Analytics, University of Turku
Service Director, Research Library of the National Library
Lawyer, National Library
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