This from Peter Murray-Rust’s blog:
Today 2014-06-01 is a very important date. The UK government has pushed for reform of copyright and – despite significant opposition and lobbying from mainstream publishers – the proposals are now law. Today.
Laws are complicated and the language can be hard to understand but for our purposes (Scientific articles to which we have the right to read ) :
If you have the right to read something in the UK then you have the right to extract and publish facts from it for non-commercial use.
This right overrides any restrictions in the contract signed between the publisher and and the buyer/renter.
Of course we are still bound by copyright law in general, defamation, passing off and many other laws. But our machines can now download subscribed articles without legal hindrance and as long as we don’t publish large non-factual chunks we can go ahead.
Without asking permission.
That’s the key point. If we had to ask permission or were bound by contracts that forbid us then the law would be useless. But it isn’t.
For those of us interested in extracting information from online sources for research and network-analysis purposes, this is a significant moment.