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Microsoft warns of dangers surrounding EU data limits

Tim Maytom

Microsoft has warned that copyright reforms planned by EU legislators could damage the European Union's digital development in the future. The planned reforms, which would involve limiting the use of potentially valuable data to non-profit bodies, are due for discussion and a vote next week.

Microsoft is one of many companies, research bodies and organisations that has stepped up its lobbying of the European Parliament ahead of the vote, which will determine the Parliament's position ahead of talks with member states and the European Commission. In a statement, Microsoft warned that the current proposal could hold back EU attempts to compete with Japan, China and other nations in data science and research, as well as having "a great number of unintended negative consequences".

"By confining the exception for text and data mining to only a small group of non-profit research organisations, Article 3 cuts off promising research by public and private partnerships and prevent uptake of new technologies by European businesses large and small."

German pharmaceutical firm Bayer joined Microsoft in its warning, saying that mining vast quantities of data is invaluable to its efforts to develop innovative drugs against diseases.

"Excluding private research, startups and companies from reaping the full benefits of this technology will undoubtedly reduce Europe's competitiveness," said the firm in a statement submitted to the European Parliament.