Limitations to Text and Data Mining and Consumer Empowerment: Making the Case for a Right to 'Machine Legibility'

Rossana Ducato*, Alain Strowel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This 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 on artificial intelligence innovation, because that requires improved access to data. There are thus various arguments for enhanced ‘‘machine legibility’’. However, the TDM exceptions included in the recently approved Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market do not appear to clear the way for enhanced ‘‘machine legibility’’. In relation to SDSs, we also argue that the principle of transparency, which is embedded in consumer and data protection laws, can serve as a last line of defence against prohibition of TDM7
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-684
Number of pages36
JournalThe International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law
Issue number6
Early online date4 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

The research is supported by the Innoviris Grant 2016-BB2B-9. A sincere thanks to Dr. Guido Noto La Diega for the constructive discussion on an early version of this paper. The authors have jointly conceived the paper and share the views expressed therein. Nonetheless, while Section 5 is attributable to Alain Strowel, Sections 2, 6 and 7 are specifically attributable to Rossana Ducato. Both authors equally contributed to the drafting of Sections 1, 3, 4 and 8.


  • Text and data mining
  • Copyright
  • Sui generis right
  • Consumer protection
  • Data protection
  • Smart disclosure system


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