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28 July 2022

Government Calls For More Evidence On Copyright Framework

The government has called for more evidence from rights holders to "limit negative impacts" of expanding the text and data mining exception after content creators expressed alarm over plans to weaken the copyright framework. 

Last week content creators, including the News Media Association, came to together to warn Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng that the proposed changes would “fundamentally undermine” investment in the content and data on which AI technologies rely, and the UK’s “gold standard” copyright framework. 

And yesterday the Publishers Content Forum, a group of cross-sector trade bodies, companies and collective management organisations focused on publishing, also wrote to Mr Kwarteng to express concern. 

The PCF, of which the News Media Association is a member, believes that the government’s decision to create a broad copyright exception will seriously undermine the UK’s IP framework, conflict with international law and provide international rightsholders and non-UK based research organisations with a competitive advantage. 

Without the ability to licence and receive payment for the use of their data and content some businesses will have no choice but to apply paywalls where access to content is currently free, publishers have warned. 

Although a relatively recent development, the UK’s publishing industry has worked to meet the needs of text and data mining researchers with a licensing market that allows for TDM.  The industry is concerned to ensure that licensing is as accessible, straightforward and affordable as possible.

In a written question in the Lords, Lord Black of Brentwood, chairman of the NMA's legal, policy and regulatory affairs committee, asked the government what assessment it has made of the financial impact on the UK news media sector of the decision to expand the text and data mining copyright exception.

Responding on behalf of the government, the IP Minister Lord Callanan said an impact assessment would be published alongside the legislation when laid. He added: "The proposed exception will be targeted to limit negative impacts, and the government welcomes further evidence from rights holders on how to best achieve this."

 The NMA will be seeking a meeting with the IPO in order to discuss the significance of TDM for publishers.