Sorry for the somewhat general question, to which the answers necessary depend on the country of operation and necessarily are also subject to become obsolete at some point. But I think it to be quite relevant to the open data initiative, and perhaps on this forum there are people who are informed of this.

Legislation in EU has aimed to form an exemption for mining the data for research purposes. As far as I understand, UK has introduced a rule like this last year. However I am not sure how and where to find up-to-date information on this.

I understand that "the right to read = the right to mine" states that anything that can be seen/read/heard by a human can also be analysed for research purposes. This seems to make sense in a way, as in principle you could physically read all those webpages make notes, collate, and the finish your study. On the other hand doing things automatically can allow things otherwise very difficult or impossible to be manageable, so in this sense the difference can be measured in something else than human time.

Maybe someone here has a good overview of the field now. What are the current state in the EU for research purposed web-crawling with no aimed commercial application? Is the UK law like this in operation?

If the licensing stated on a web-page contradicts this rule, what happens then? The link on UK above seems to imply that the law overrides the web-page licensing (similar to cases of Fair Use in the US I think), and this seems to be exactly the point of the initiative.

Thanks for your help, if you are able to bring some clarity to the issue, or help me phrase the question in a way that can be well answered. Perhaps there are good up-to-date online materials that I should read.

  • 5
    Although I think this is a valuable question, I think it may be better suited on a site with a focus for legal advice, e.g. law.stackexchange.com
    – philshem
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 9:21
  • 2
    Good point @philshem, but it's a key basis for most of what the OD community is here for so would be good as a reference post for OD.
    – Marcus D
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 9:40
  • linkedin's case in the us has some bearing here.
    – albert
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 13:42
  • free 50 points to anyone who answers this question, even half-answers, in the next 22 hours
    – philshem
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 7:42
  • 1
    More recent review of the same author, another recent article, and probably these documents are relevant. Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 10:38

2 Answers 2


The article in the LSE blog you have pointed out seems to be a good overview, the problems seem to be not only UK specific:

  • Even with some legal barriers now removed, technical barriers remain

  • The only nagging question remaining to address is: what is ‘non-commercial’?

Éanna Kelly, the author of another article you have pointed out, has write more recent overview.

Yet another recent article says:

For now, observers hope that the directive will come into force next year – or possibly at the end of 2017 if European legislators act quickly.

I can't find full text of the proposal, but the Building a European Data Economy initiative looks relevant:

Final update

The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market has been adopted and came into force on June 7, 2019.

Wikipedia article.


Look at legislation.co.uk as I use it to look up UK statues that are currently in force and those that used to be in force. I know which legislation you are meaning but the name of it is not coming to me.

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