Insights News Media Association reports on indication by Government that proposals to introduce a text data mining copyright exception will likely not go ahead

The NMA has welcomed the Government’s indication that it is calling a halt to plans to introduce a new copyright exception which content creators feared would have a “severe negative impact” on UK rights holders, including news media publishers.  The NMA has been campaigning for the Government’s proposals around text and data mining (TDM) to be abandoned.

Back in July 2022, organisations across the publishing sector, including the NMA, wrote to the then Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, to express profound alarm over the plans. In the letter, the Publishers Content Forum said: “The exception proposed will have a severe negative impact on UK rights holders and will create an unfairness that benefits those using content for purposes of TDM. The immediate consequences of the exception will be that, without the ability to license and receive payment for the use of their data and content, certain businesses will have no choice but to exit the UK market or apply paywalls where access to content is currently free”.

The NMA now reports that, giving evidence to the Lords Communications and Digital Committee, DCMS Minister, Julia Lopez MP, said she was “fairly confident” the proposals would not go ahead. She said: “I understand the IPO is extending its consultation on this. In the meantime, I am going to meet Minister Freeman to talk about some of these challenges. I understand the movement behind it. There are other technologies we need to be competitive in.

“This was in relation to AI in particular, where you want large data sets to analyse, to develop and understand trends and patterns. This committee and DCMS are very aware that IP is the lifeblood of many creative industry businesses, so we are not convinced of the value of this piece of work. I am fairly confident, in so far as I can say publicly, that this is not going to proceed”.

The NMA also reports that in Oral Questions to the Culture Secretary  [on 1 December 2022], Sarah Olney MP said she was encouraged by the news the plans would not go ahead and asked the Minister to ensure any revised proposals to promote AI did not cause economic harm to the creative industry. In response, Ms Lopez said again that IP was the “lifeblood” of the creative industries, that she was “not convinced of the value” of the TDM proposal and that she had met with the Minister responsible for IP, George Freeman, to discuss the plans.

Ms Lopez MP said: “I raised the concerns of the creative industries with the minister with responsibility, which he was sympathetic to those concerns. They are going to be going back to look at the consultation again, examining in greater detail some of those concerns that have already come out from the creative industries and see if the proposals can be revised”. To read the NMA’s report in full, click here.