The US Copyright Office has initiated a public consultation to address the complex copyright challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI. Interested parties are encouraged to submit their opinions on these matters. The Copyright Office’s announcement aims to assess whether legislative or regulatory actions are necessary in response to the evolving role of AI in copyright-related contexts.
Four key topics for debate
The Copyright Office has identified four main topics for discussion and has posed specific questions related to each:
Use of copyrighted works for AI training
One major concern pertains to AI companies using copyrighted materials, such as songs and recordings, to train their generative AI models. The music industry emphasizes the need for copyright owner consent when copyrighted works are used for training. Disagreements exist on whether such use constitutes infringement.
AI Imitating Established Artists
Debates surround AI models imitating the voice or likeness of established artists. While personal attributes aren’t typically protected by copyright, state rights of publicity and unfair competition laws might apply.
Copyright status of AI-Generated works
Determining whether AI-generated works deserve copyright protection is a key issue. While AI-assisted works involving human creators using AI tools may enjoy protection, the distinction between human-authored and AI-generated works remains unclear.
Liability for AI-Generated infringements
If an AI tool produces content that infringes copyright, questions arise about liability. Both the user of the AI tool and developers of the system and dataset could potentially share liability. Apportioning liability in cases of substantial similarity to existing copyrighted works is a significant consideration.
UK and international perspectives
The UK is also actively addressing AI and copyright concerns. The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) formed a working group to develop a code of practice concerning AI and copyright, while a previous review suggested a new copyright exception for AI companies. However, the latter proposal was met with opposition from copyright industries.
As the US Copyright Office opens this consultation and the UK Parliament discusses copyright and AI, the complexities of AI’s impact on copyright law are becoming increasingly apparent. Striking a balance between AI innovation and protecting creators’ rights is a priority. Stakeholders have until October 18 to submit their opinions to the US Copyright Office, and ongoing discussions are expected to shape the future of AI and copyright regulation in both the US and the UK.