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

CRIDES Working Paper Series, 2018

45 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2018

See all articles by Rossana Ducato

Rossana Ducato

School of Law, University of Aberdeen; Université Catholique de Louvain

Alain M. Strowel

Saint Louis University; University of Liège

Date Written: October 31, 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.

Keywords: text and data mining, copyright, sui generis right, intellectual property, smart disclosure systems, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, consumer protection, data protection, transparency

Suggested Citation

Ducato, Rossana and Strowel, Alain M., Limitations to Text and Data Mining and Consumer Empowerment: Making the Case for a Right to Machine Legibility (October 31, 2018). CRIDES Working Paper Series, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Rossana Ducato (Contact Author)

School of Law, University of Aberdeen ( email )

Taylor Building
King's College
Aberdeen, Scotland AB24 3UB
United Kingdom

Université Catholique de Louvain ( email )

Bruxelles, 1000


Alain M. Strowel

Saint Louis University ( email )

220 North Grand Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63103
United States

University of Liège

B-4000 Liege

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