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DACS warns that new text and data mining exception will undermine licensing opportunities for visual artists and weaken copyright.

Devious Designs profile of woman superimposed with floppy discs by Nick Gentry
Devious Designs, 2018
© Nick Gentry. All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2022.

DACS is deeply concerned by plans announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to introduce a new text and data mining (TDM) exception to copyright.

The new TDM exception would drastically weaken copyright protections for copyright holders in the UK, which supports the livelihoods of workers and businesses across the creative and cultural industries. 

Our sector is supportive of the objective to develop AI-technologies – and indeed many visual artists, writers and publishers already use and invest in AI – but it is vital that our copyright framework is upheld in doing so. In January 2022 DACS provided evidence to the UK Intellectual Property Office consultation on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property, clearly demonstrating the value copyright licensing brings to visual artists and a willingness to work collaboratively to develop new business models that support AI technology and machine learning activities.

Licensing copyright-protected works is a vital revenue source for visual artists at all stages of their careers. It is a flexible and innovative business model that brings value and certainty to both copyright holders and licensing customers. This startling development would apply to both commercial and non-commercial uses. It would set a concerning precedent for how copyright policy is developed, undermining not only the UK’s ‘gold standard’ copyright framework but many viable and valuable existing business models.

The rationale behind this change was to support the development of AI-driven technologies, however the reality is that this change will have far-reaching detrimental consequences to UK creative workers and visual artists. We hope that the Department and the Intellectual Property Office will listen to our concerns and evidence and look again at how the policy objectives can be better met without undermining creators’ rights.

Gilane Tawadros

We remain committed to defending the rights of visual artists and will continue to work with colleagues across the sector and the UK government in doing so.

Further reading

  • DACS' report into artists' responses to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and copyright law
  • DACS' response to the IPO's consultation on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property