UK: Proposed modifications to copyright legislation to facilitate information mining | Allen & Overy LLP

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Following the UKIPO’s 2021 session on how synthetic intelligence needs to be addressed inside the patent and copyright methods, the UK Authorities has printed its response. Whereas figuring out to not pursue any modifications relating to patent inventorship or copyright safety for copyright generated-works at this stage, the UK Authorities will transfer to amend copyright legislation to facilitate the simpler evaluation of fabric for machine studying, analysis and innovation.

The Session

As mentioned in our weblog publish in December 2021, the UK Mental Property Workplace’s (the UKIPO) session (the Session) was performed as a part of the Authorities’s plan to be the “probably the most pro-tech Authorities ever” and centered on three key areas:

  1. licensing or exceptions to copyright for textual content and information mining (TDM), which is usually vital in AI use and growth;
  2. copyright safety for computer-generated works (CGWs) with out a human writer; and
  3. patent safety for AI-devised innovations.

Following the Session, the Authorities has decided that it ought to change the legislation in relation to merchandise (1) TDM, however not for objects (2) or (3) relating to safety for non-human authors or inventors.

Licensing or exceptions to copyright for textual content and information mining

As defined in our December 2021 weblog, TDM means “using automated computational methods to analyse massive quantities of knowledge to establish patterns, developments and different helpful data” and is utilized in coaching AI, advertising, and enterprise analytics amongst different issues. TDM methods copy works to extract and analyse the underlying information and, underneath present legislation, this copying constitutes copyright infringement except permitted underneath licence or an exception (such because the non-commercial analysis exception, launched in 2014).

With a view to creating it simpler to hold out TDM and due to this fact assist AI and innovation, 5 coverage choices into consideration within the Session:

  • Upkeep of the established order (ie an exception to copyright for TDM within the case of non-commercial analysis) whether it is proven that the present legislation shouldn’t be hindering entry to materials for textual content and information mining, notably within the context of coaching AI methods.
  • Enhancing the licensing atmosphere by creating mannequin licences and codes of follow for copyright licensing within the context of textual content and information mining.
  • Extending the copyright exception to cowl industrial analysis and databases.
  • A brand new exception for textual content and information mining performed for any objective by anybody, with an opt-out system for rights holders to carve out their works. Such an exception wouldn’t be restricted to scientific analysis and will embrace, for instance, journalism or enterprise analytics. Though, researchers would nonetheless want lawful entry to learn the copyrighted works and databases within the first occasion. This strategy, it’s prompt, would take away the excessive prices related to mining works for which it’s troublesome to find the related rights holders whereas permitting rights holders to license their works if they need.
  • A brand new exception for textual content and information mining performed for any objective by anybody with out an opt-out system. Though, as above, researchers would nonetheless want lawful entry to learn the copyrighted works and databases, rights holders wouldn’t be capable of forestall textual content and information mining of those works and databases.

A spread of responses have been obtained, with some contemplating there to be no concern with the present system; others noting that TDM for any industrial functions justified rights holders having the ability to cost for a licence; others put ahead completely different licensing fashions to help entry; while others thought of that introducing exceptions would scale back the prices of TDM and keep away from pricing customers out of the market. As one would anticipate, rights holders have been broadly in opposition to the proposal to develop the scope of the exception.

The Authorities concludes that it’s going to change the legislation governing TDM, to introduce a copyright and database proper exception permitting TDM for any objective (together with industrial exploitation) such that rights holders will now not be capable of cost for UK licences for TDM.

The Authorities emphasised that rights holders would nonetheless have safeguards to guard their content material, together with requiring customers of TDM to have lawful entry to the content material. Rights holders will be capable of select the platform the place they make their works accessible and may cost for entry through a subscription or single cost. The Authorities additionally famous that sure international locations within the EU, in addition to Japan, Singapore and the US (underneath honest use legislation) already had copyright exceptions for TDM to various levels.

While some respondents to the Session raised information safety considerations together with relating to information ethics and requirements these issues fell exterior the scope of the Session.

Copyright safety for computer-generated works

The Authorities won’t change the legislation because it considerations CGWs, an strategy which is consistent with the bulk response within the Session.

Unusually, CGWs within the UK are at the moment protected underneath copyright legislation however the UKIPO discovered no proof that this present safety is dangerous. Furthermore, using AI in CGWs continues to be in its infancy, which means that the Authorities didn’t suppose that it might correctly consider the influence of eradicating or offering for various safety – given this lack of awareness, the Authorities was involved concerning the threat of unintended penalties. Additional, most respondents thought that safety for CGWs was not at the moment broadly utilized in any occasion. The Authorities will additional monitor the influence of present protections on AI.

Patent safety for AI-devised innovations

The Authorities won’t change the legislation because it considerations patents and AI inventorship, once more, mirroring the view of nearly all of respondents to the Session.

The Authorities discovered no proof that present UK patent legislation (requiring a human to be recognized as an inventor) is unsuitable to guard innovations made utilizing AI, notably as many respondents felt that AI was not but sufficiently developed to invent with out human intervention. Nearly all of respondents thought of that there was restricted technological, authorized, and financial proof for authorized change. The Authorities was additionally delicate to many respondents’ considerations that future modifications needs to be completed on the worldwide stage to make sure harmonisation, pertinent as we see instances throughout the globe contemplating the inventorship rights of AI and whether or not, for instance, DABUS or Dr Thaler needs to be recognized because the inventor (our blogs right here and right here think about this subject additional).

Different points raised by respondents

Apparently, many respondents raised their concern that there must be a broader debate as as to whether AI needs to be recognised as a authorized persona however this concern was exterior the scope of the Session.

Some respondents additionally voiced their considerations relating to the potential unfavorable impacts of AI on performers. For instance, there may be the priority that computer-generated performances might both exchange human performers or could also be used to make use of their likeness with out their permission (‘deepfakes’). The Authorities said that it might maintain these points underneath evaluate.


The tempo of AI developments continues to drive legislative developments. Notably, the Authorities emphasised in its response that it might proceed to evaluate and think about additional modifications in a number of areas of the Session the place it proposes to not take motion in the meanwhile.

One other theme within the Authorities’s response is the UK’s willingness to develop its mental property framework following Brexit, with a view additional to facilitate innovation. As in associated areas, comparable to information safety, it stays to be seen how far the UK will diverge from the EU. Nonetheless, it’s clear that we should always anticipate additional developments on this discipline.


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