UK copyright law allows researchers to make copies of works ‘for text and data analysis’. This means that where a user has lawful access to a work (eg an e-journal or database subscription) they can make a copy of it for the purpose of carrying out a computational analysis of anything recorded in the work.
The exception only applies under the following conditions:
- the analysis must be for the purpose of non-commercial research
- the copy is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgment (unless this is practically impossible)
Copyright is infringed if the copy made is transferred to another person, or it is used for purposes different than those permitted by law (although the researcher could ask the owner for permission to do either of these things).
Importantly, the law cannot be overridden by contract. Contractual terms which set out to restrict or prevent the doing of the acts permitted under law are unenforceable.