Legal framework of textual data processing for Machine Translation and Language Technology research and development activities/Introductory Material


Objective of this report is to present the key legal issues with regard to Language Resources (LR) re-use, particularly in Machine Translation (MT) and Machine Processing (MP) settings, provide a simple report as to the permitted acts and make key policy suggestions as to amendments in the relevant bodies of legislation.

LR processing requires the use and re-use of information of various kinds, in a variety of ways, by different types of organisations and, as a result, it involves a wide range of legal regimes. It is mostly related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), but it may also involve Personal Data Protection, Public Sector Information and Geodata Regulation.

In order to assess the conditions under which LR re-use in MT and MP may lawfully take place, we need to appreciate the acts it involves, the degree to which they are regulated by different types of laws and the permissions that someone needs to obtain in order to perform such acts. This report starts with the key methodological premises it has adopted and explains how the flows of rights are to be treated in a paradigmatic MT & MP scenario and what the key emerging issues are. It presents the core concepts of the main legal regimes that influence the LR-based MT & MP and elaborates on the key legal issues featuring in each of the different kinds of legal regimes. It also presents the various legal issues related to LR-based MT & MP in terms of (See Figure I):

  • IPR issues
  • Data Protection Issues
  • Public Sector Information Issues
  • Confidentiality and Other types of rights Issues
Figure I: Legal Issues Related to LR MT/MP

It then attempts to propose different ways in which LR-based MT & MP are to be treated, exemplifying them by a set of use cases that may be used as prototypical scenarios illustrating different aspects of the use of LR for MT/MP purposes.

Abbreviations & AcronymsEdit

  • CR: Copyright
  • DB: Database Right
  • IFLA: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
  • IPR: Intellectual Property Rights
  • LR: Language Resources
  • MP: Machine Processing
  • MT: Machine Translation
  • PSI: Public Sector Information
  • SGDBR: Sui Generis Database Right


This document is part of the Coordination and Support Action “Preparation and Launch of a Large-scale Action for Quality Translation Technology (QTLaunchPad)”. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 296347.


  • Prodromos Tsiavos
  • Stelios Piperidis
  • Maria Gavrilidou
  • Penny Labropoulou
  • Tasos Patrikakos