Workshop: Legal Issues in Computational Research using Text and Data Mining

October 13, 2023

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT
Registration link for Zoom:
Presenters: Dave Hansen, Authors Alliance Executive Director, and Janet Swatscheno, Associate Director for Outreach & Education at HathiTrust Research Center

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Computational research techniques such as text and data mining (TDM) hold tremendous opportunities for researchers across the disciplines ranging from mining scientific articles to create better systematic reviews to building a corpus of films to understand how concepts of gender, race, and identity are shared over time. Unfortunately, legal uncertainty, whether through copyright or restrictive terms of use, associated with text and data mining, machine learning and/or AI, can stifle this research. Recent copyright lawsuits, such as the high-profile cases brought against Microsoft, Github, and StabiltyAI underscore the legal complications. 

This workshop will survey existing law and policy and highlight pathways forward for libraries and researchers including fair use and TDM-specific exemptions to copyright, particularly for users of materials covered by digital rights management (DRM) and other similar technology.  We will explore how HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) has approached these issues through its own policies, and include substantial Q&A to discuss how libraries interested in supporting TDM researchers can do so with sound legal design. 

The workshop is offered in partnership with Authors Alliance. Authors Alliance is a nonprofit that exists to support authors who research and write for the public benefit, primarily by focusing on legal barriers to research and access to knowledge. Authors Alliance is currently leading a project entitled Text and Data Mining: Demonstrating Fair Use Project, which is generously supported by the Mellon Foundation.