Following the recent conclusion of the six month national consultation, instigated last October, the Government has now published its response.
The major outcome was that copyright law is being amended to permit easier analysis for the purposes of machine learning, research and innovation. The intention with these changes is to promote the use of AI technology, and wider “data mining” techniques.
Data mining is a technique wherein software is used to analyse material for patterns, trends and other useful information. The Government's intention is that anybody who can lawfully access copyright-protected material should be able to data mine it, without having to seek further permission from the copyright owner.
Notably, data mining can be used in training AI systems such as machine-learning software, trained on large repositories of computer code, and able to intelligently suggest new code to programmers.
In a post-Brexit world, this provision will take advantage of the UK’s ability to set its own copyright laws and accordingly put the UK’s copyright framework among the most AI-friendly globally. In this way, it will go some way in supporting the Government’s ambition for the UK to be a global leader in AI innovation and research.
This initiative will have the effect of preserving wider copyright protection, in particular copyright owners’ ability to control who can access their works. This in turn will benefit a wide range of UK-based stakeholders, such as researchers, AI developers, and cultural heritage institutions.
Whilst the results of the consultation declined to enact any changes regarding the extent to which AI-generated inventions and creative works should be protected by patents and copyright, the Government has stated that it will retain technical development of AI under close review. This will help ensure that UK inventorship rules continue to support AI innovation and seek to advance discussions internationally to support the UK’s economic interests.
Our new UK rules on copyright and data mining will act as a catalyst for our innovators to flourish, helping ensure the UK’s IP system remains a powerful enabler for ground-breaking R&D.