AI Developers, this one is for you: New UK data mining copyright exception for Text and Data Mining

If you’re an AI developer, then you may have heard of the UK Governments future plans regarding Text and Data Mining (TDM) and copyright.

The initial Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (that sets out the UK’s current intellectual property rules and regulations) was introduced initially in 1988, a time where the technology we have today was essentially non-existent, which means copyright surrounding the likes of TDM and other technological advancements is an incredibly foggy area.

As we move into the digital age even further, it’s time for laws and regulations to follow suit too, so this is a very welcome change! The aim here Is to make the UK more ‘innovation-friendly’.

Let’s dive into it.

What are the plans?

The UK Government produced a response last month to a public consultation surrounding AI and intellectual property, outlining a new, broader copyright and database exception to allow TDM for any purpose, this will permit data mining and analysis of datasets for commercial use.

As the 1988 currently stands, it allows for TDM for non-commercial purposes, this includes using quotes from books etc, as long as the developer utilising the data has access to the works (via licenses, subscriptions etc).


What does this mean?

In very short terms, it means that data can essentially be mined by AI and used without breaching copyright laws..although this may be an over simplification of it.

Right holders (aka, those who own the copyright) will still be afforded the safeguard that AI developers will still require lawful access to the work they wish to utilise…if this weren’t the case, the exception would be a bit of a backwards step for the world of copyright protection. If you are a rights holder, then you will not be able to opt-out of the new exception, but you absolutely will still be able to control access to your data.

Although this could have a bit of an adverse impact – rights holders may insist on putting their content behind paywalls via subscription, charging for access. It could also mean that they actually end up refusing to publish their data…

This will benefit AI based businesses – it will hopefully mean there are much less copyright breaches being made.


When will this be enforced?

If you’re in this sphere, don’t make any rash changes or decisions as of yet. It is expected that the new exception will be enforced in 2023, so keep your eyes peeled.

We’ll let you know if any updates unfold in the future!

What are your thoughts on this – is it a welcome change, or will it have the opposite effect? Only time will tell what the actual results will be, but we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Scroll to Top