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Copying Right in Copyright Law: Fair Use, Computational Data Analysis and the Personal Data Protection Act

David Tan & Thomas Lee Chee Seng

(2021) 33 SAcLJ 1032

Data mining and predictive analytics is a multi-billion industry in the 21st century and can generate immense public benefit. At the same time, it has attracted global controversy in highly visible cases of copyright and data protection violations such as in the Google Books and Google Images litigation. The governing laws require a constant delicate balancing between the interests of rights owners, data miners and private individuals. This article analyses Singapore’s copyright and data protection regimes to examine their effectiveness as dual and complementary regulators of data mining. It also identifies the salient concerns shared by stakeholders to pinpoint avenues for legal reform. Finally, in recognising that economic considerations play a crucial role underlying Singapore’s copyright and data protection regimes, this article suggests that an economic analysis to identify reforms in line with maximising welfare among stakeholders is apropos. The article concludes that more illustrations should be added to the proposed computational data analysis exception under s 244 of the proposed Copyright Act 2021 to clarify the grey areas, and that the research exception under the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (Act 26 of 2012) should be retained in its current form.