The right to read should mean the right to mine for the sake of UK prosperity
The Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) is urging the UK Government to fully and clearly legitimise the principle that the right to read should mean the right to mine in UK law; this is essential to maintain the UK’s competitive edge and keep it at the forefront of global research, and to further develop the UK economy. This principle was already enshrined in the London Manifesto for Fair Copyright Reform for Libraries and Archives in Europe, which has signatures from over 125 institutions and organisations in the UK and beyond, and has been amplified by a recent report commissioned by the UK Government on Growing the artificial intelligence industry in the UK.
Today LACA have written to Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, and Matt Hancock MP, Minister of State for Digital, to urge the Government to take seriously the text and data mining recommendation of the AI report and the principle that the right to read should be the right to mine.
Why should the right to read mean the right to mine?
The move would not be a radical change in the principles of UK copyright law, but rather a recognition of the fact that computers can now do what human minds have done for thousands of years: read text quickly and extract a trends and facts.. However, this recognition is important because in regulating this essential work, we must be careful not to reduce the public domain and hamper the new thinking and innovation which is essential to the successful development and growth of the UK economy. There is widespread recognition, including by the Government, that the UK’s future prosperity will be driven by effective and successful partnership between business world, academia and civil society. Therefore, the effective use of data mining, which can be facilitated and expedited by AI, must be encouraged.
• In order to have the right to mine one must have the right to read;
• TPM’s (Technical Protection Measures) and contract terms must not be permitted to override the right to read and the right to mine. This should be enshrined in UK copyright law. We are talking about enhancing access which is already permitted for the benefit of innovation, enterprise and civil society.
Necessary action for the Government
1. Make the right to mine automatically apply whenever there is the legal right to read; and
2. Ensure that the law enshrines the principle that TPMs and contracts can never inhibit or prevent the exercise of the right to mine.
You can read the full text of LACA’s letter to the Government here.