NMA Urges Caution On Broadening Text And Data Mining Exceptions

The UK should not be tempted to adopt a more permissive regime for text and data mining which could further boost the ability of platforms and aggregators to profit from news publishers’ journalism without their consent, the News Media Association has said.

Government proposals to strengthen text and data mining exceptions – which allow companies to extract data from websites using artificial intelligence – could “embolden the unlevied use of news media data by a whole range of other businesses,” the NMA warned.

“The reality is that while news publishers have expressed strong concerns about the ‘take it or leave it’ terms imposed by dominant search engines such as Google, in relation to text and data aggregation, the government’s proposals risk enabling a much broader swathe of companies to plunder news media data without paying equitable compensation. 

“The NMA is aware of an ever-widening range of businesses that are rapidly developing AI applications with the capability to source and combine news data sources on a mass scale,” the NMA said in a submission to an Intellectual Property office consultation on how the copyright and patent system should deal with AI.

Brand safety vendors which crawl our newspapers websites to prevent ad misplacement are using their position as a way to further crawl news publisher sites in order to target advertising based on keywords or emotional sentiment, building audience segments that they are able to sell to advertisers. 

“The effect of this mass use of news publisher data is to undermine the ability of news publishers to build and sell advertising inventory on their own terms,” the NMA added.

The NMA has called for the preservation of the UK’s narrow copyright exception for text and data mining that enables computational analysis solely for the purpose of non-commercial research.  

“The UK should not be tempted to adopt a more permissive regime since this would unfairly skew the balance between the interests of IP owners and data holders on the one hand and those of data users on the other,” the NMA added.