Open Letter to the trilogue negotiators on a mandatory TDM exception

February 11, 2019
Entrepreneurs, Data Act

Dear Deputy Permanent Representatives, dear Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission,

As you are preparing for the last trilogue meeting on the proposed EU Copyright Directive, we are solemnly calling on all negotiators to seize this last opportunity to give Europe a broad, clear and innovation-friendly mandatory TDM exception.

We, representatives of the broader European research and innovation ecosystem, namely universities, large and small European technology companies, startups and scaleups and libraries, who stand at the forefront of developing research underpinning the next generation of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) innovation,  have been advocating for such an exception in light of the critical importance of TDM in the development of AI.

Since 2016, we have conveyed our shared positions throughout the legislative process, and more recently on 15 January, when we published a last open letter, requesting from European negotiators that they make the right choice: replacing “may” by “shall” in Article 3a, Para. 1 of the proposed text.

We understand that the Romanian Presidency will ask Member States for “flexibility to accept the change to a mandatory exception should this become necessary to achieve an overall compromise”. We hope that all EU institutions will push for such change, particularly in an increasingly competitive context worldwide, where other countries such as the US, Japan, and more recently Singapore have amended their copyright and/or open data laws to achieve their AI ambitions. A broad, mandatory TDM exception is the only way for the EU to support the emergence of European champions in this area.

We hope this is the choice Europe will make today, and wish you good luck with the negotiations.


  • Allied for Startups;
  • Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT);
  • Communia Association;
  • Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR);
  • Deutsche Startups;
  • European DIGITAL SME Alliance;
  • European University Association (EUA);
  • Frontiers;
  • League of European Research Universities (LERU);
  • Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche (LIBER);
  • Open State Foundation
  • Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL)
  • University College London