Max Planck Society statement on copyright law and science

by Stephan Kinsella on June 1, 2011

The Max Planck Society is rightly concerned about the effect of copyright on science, in particular  its restrictions on the use and communication of scientific knowledge. They call “for a science-friendly copyright law that would promote the fast and unobstructed exchange of scientific findings and meet the requirements of everyday scientific work …. Particularly worthy of note here is the demand for a legally-anchored and contractually non-negotiable right of secondary utilisation for the originator.”

Revision of copyright law – the concerns of science and the “third basket”

Unrestricted access to scientific information and research data is vitally important for scientific progress and for scientific work in general. The discussion surrounding a revision of copyright law in an information society therefore have major implications for science.

The two previous amendments to the copyright law (“first and second basket”) did not address many scientific issues and interests, as the primary focus was on other fields. A third law on the regulation of copyright, the so-called “third basket”, is intended to specifically address the concerns of education and science.

With its joint statement on July 9, 2010, the Alliance of German Science Organisations drafted an appeal for a science-friendly copyright law that would promote the fast and unobstructed exchange of scientific findings and meet the requirements of everyday scientific work – something that is currently largely governed by digitalisation. Particularly worthy of note here is the demand for a legally-anchored and contractually non-negotiable right of secondary utilisation for the originator.

Another major concern of the Alliance of German Science Organisations is the creation of transparency and legal certainty for scientists in copyright issues. The legislator is therefore being requested to create reliable, unambiguous, easy-to-handle and fair legal parameters for scientific work with published information.

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