Article Consumer Protection Data Protection & Privacy IT&IP Law Law

New article: Limitations to TDM and Consumer Empowerment. Making the Case for a Right to Machine Legibility

Author: Rossana Ducato and Alain Strowel

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Citation: R. Ducato, A. Strowel, Limitations to Text and Data Mining and Consumer Empowerment: Making the Case for a Right to “Machine Legibility”, CRIDES Working Paper Series 1/2018, 31 October 2018.


The paper focuses on the current legal barriers to text and data mining (TDM) in the context of smart disclosure systems (SDSs) whose aim is to provide consumers with improved access to the data needed to make informed decisions. The use of intellectual property rights and contracts, combined with technological protection measures, can hinder TDM and the deployment of SDSs. Further, those legal constraints can negatively impact artificial intelligence innovation that requires improved access to data. There are thus various arguments for enhanced “machine legibility”. However, the TDM exception included in the draft Copyright in the DSM Directive and the various amendments proposed by the European Parliament or the Council do not appear to clear the way for enhanced “machine legibility”. In relation to SDSs, we also argue that the principle of transparency, embedded in consumer and data protection laws, can serve as a last line of defence against prohibition of TDM.

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