On Copyright and Text and Data Mining

Section 29A card from Copyright the Card Game

We have written a few things in the past about Section 29A of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, which was enacted in 2014 following the Hargreaves Review of IP. This exception permits individuals to undertake text and data mining, or ‘computational analysis’ for the purposes of non-commercial research. It was the subject of an article we wrote for CILIP Update which subsequently appeared as a blog post and for the LSE Impact Blog in 2016. I was involved in referring a case to the IPO, when a researcher I was helping wanted to undertake text and data mining on a web-based database which had DRM technology on it, preventing this. The matter was referred to the IPO on my behalf by the Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) and although the case was subsequently unsuccessful, it proved to be a valuable example of some of the problems this new exception creates, because it can be prohibited by either licence agreements or DRM.

Just a couple of weeks ago Chris and I were interviewed by Charnjot Shokar from WIPO Monitor about this same subject, partly because of the proposals to introduce a similar exception for Text and Data Mining across Europe as part of the (rather controversial) Digital Single Market directive. You can read our interview in full on the WIPO Monitor website. The WIPO Monitor website is a project supervised by the Network Communications Governance Lab at McMaster University. Through this site, they seek to research and monitor developments in international copyright policy, as well as provide an informative, critical, and comprehensive venue for readers to discover and keep themselves up-to-date in the affairs of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

It’s a really rich source of information about the work of WIPO, so if you are interested in what’s happening at an international level, then I’d recommend you take a look at their website. There is also a recent interview with Teresa Hackett from EIFL on their site.

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