[A2k] Global Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age

White, Ben Ben.White at bl.uk
Thu May 14 01:53:42 PDT 2015

Dear Colleagues

Sincerest apologies for cross posting.

I wanted to bring to your attention the Hague Declaration On Knoweldge Discovery in the Digital Age as a member of LIBER ((Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche) and the Copyright, Legal and Other Matters Committee of the International  Federation of Library Associations.

As the massive potential of Big Data, and all other forms of data have become clear  we have seen a rise in litigation to protect smaller and smaller amounts of knowledge. Over the past 10 years we have seen litigation, particularly from the newspaper industry, around the reuse of a few words from newspaper articles, or a newspaper title. We have similarly seen court cases around whether copyright pertains to a url. In 2013 we saw the European Commission organise workshops on Text and Data Mining / Big Data to discuss not limitations and exceptions, but more licences for being able to extract facts and data from materials users of copyright already had legal access to already.

The point of the Hague Declaration is to protect the building blocks of knowledge – facts -  from the reach of intellectual property. This is important because in order to exploit Big Data, computers must copy and synthesise  the text / data,  within which the facts you want to discover are sitting. This means that it is regulated by copyright law, or if in the EU database rights also. The medical, social and economic potential of this technology is hugely transformative.

I would invite your organisations to read and potentially sign. Signatories will agree to share and work towards the key vision of the Declaration, which calls for changes to intellectual property (IP) law and the removal of other barriers currently preventing widened and more equal access to Big Data.

IP law was not designed to regulate the free flow of facts, data and ideas, nor should it.


Kind regards

Ben White

P.S. This<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/08/opinion/yes-we-were-warned-about-ebola.html?_r=0> article on Ebola from the Liberian Minister of Health shows how undiscovered public knowledge decades old, that sits within medical journals in the West, could have been easily mined to show that Ebola was historically present in Liberia although no health official there knew it when facing the current crisis.

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