Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Data Mining and Copyright

With increased activity on data analysis, big data, text mining, and the like, you might wonder if copyright law covers this type of use.  U.S. copyright law has no specific exceptions related to text mining.  However, in the U.K., there is guidance on this.  The guidance says:

Text and data mining for non-commercial research

Text and data mining is the use of automated analytical techniques to analyse text and data for patterns, trends and other useful information. Text and data mining usually requires copying of the work to be analysed.

An exception to copyright exists which allows researchers to make copies of any copyright material for the purpose of computational analysis if they already have the right to read the work (that is, they have ‘lawful access’ to the work). This exception only permits the making of copies for the purpose of text and data mining for non-commercial research. Researchers will still have to buy subscriptions to access material; this could be from many sources including academic publishers.

Publishers and content providers will be able to apply reasonable measures to maintain their network security or stability but these measures should not prevent or unreasonably restrict researcher’s ability to text and data mine. Contract terms that stop researchers making copies to carry out text and data mining will be unenforceable.
Could this be something the U.S. might provide guidance or specific rules on?  If yes, is this something that might happen soon, or will we catch-up in 5-10 years?

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