The exception for computational data analysis in Singapore’s Copyright Act 2021

The exception for computational data analysis in Singapore’s Copyright Act 2021, exception for computational data analysis in Singapore’s Copyright Act 2021, computational data analysis, Exception for computational data analysis

The exception for computational data analysis in Singapore’s Copyright Act 2021

Singapore’s new Copyright Act officially came into force in November 2021. Among the amendments in the new Copyright Act of Singapore, one of the most important revisions is that of the exception for computational data analysis.

The exception for computational data analysis in the amended Copyright Act of Singapore is one of the few pieces of legislation in the world with such exception. 

However, this exception of Singapore has a broader scope in comparison with other jurisdictions such as the UK and EU.

Exception for computational data analysis

Computational data analysis means the study or the analysis of data from large bodies of material that could be copyright-protected for R&D purposes.

The materials used in computational data analysis can be text-based works, images, or even different types of sound. 

The data is then preprocessed, stored, managed, analyzed, and visualized to acquire the needed information for some specific purposes. 

This technique has been utilized by many global corporations to find out the trending of society at a specific point in time, such as Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Google, and Pfizer.

In the new Copyright Act of Singapore, the computational data analysis exception is strictly stipulated to protect Internet users’ interests. 

Specifically, all copyright works in Singapore are open to access for computational data analysis, even without the consent of the copyright owners, as long as they are lawfully accessed and used only for computational data analysis purposes.

This exception covers all freely available works and this exception can’t be eliminated or modified in any type of contract.

Expert opinions

Although the regulations are great, the wordings of the regulations are somewhat unclear, leaving shady rooms for shady organizations to take advantage of.

To solve this matter, Copyright Act 2021 S244(2)(d) has provided illustrations of what “lawful access” means.

Trina Ha, chief legal counsel/director of Intellectual Property Office of Singapore’s Legal Department explained the wordings: “For example, if certain material can only be accessed through a paid subscription, the user cannot circumvent the paywall to access the material. Another example is that a user cannot gain access to material that is placed on a database by breaching the terms of use of the database.” 

In addition, according to Christian Troncoso, senior director, policy, BSA| The Software Alliance, a trade group representing commercial software makers: The exception also allows sharing of the works to verify the results of the computational data analysis, for collaborative research or study. This goes beyond most similar exceptions in other jurisdictions.

He further added: “The computational data analysis exception is a game-changer because it provides much-needed legal clarity for organizations that are developing AI. The incredible advances in AI capabilities we’ve seen in recent years have been enabled by machine learning. At its core, machine learning involves the computational analysis of large data sets to identify correlations and patterns that can be used to make predictions about future data inputs. Many of the most promising applications of machine learning – including computer vision and natural language processing — rely on training data that may be subject to copyright protection, so the exception helps resolve a source of uncertainty for the Singaporean AI research and development community.”

Troncoso reiterated the importance of the flexible exceptions in the law of Singapore, enabling future development, at the same time, protecting the interests of copyright owners, especially made clear with Singapore’s fair use provision: “However, because there is a dearth of case law regarding the precise contours of fair use under Singaporean law, the passage of a specific computational data analysis exception provides added certainty for organizations that are seeking to engage in computational data analysis, including for the development of AI.”

*** Other Articles***

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