Should Copyrights be Awarded to AI-Generated Content?

August 24, 2023
Should Copyrights be Awarded to AI-Generated Content?

The enforcement of copyright laws across international borders is governed by a complex set of agreements. Among these treaties, the first established agreement is The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Established in 1886, it has over 170 member countries today – upholding the minimum standards set by the agreement in each of their own jurisdictions.

The U.S. has also entered into various bilateral and regional trade agreements that further govern intellectual property rights. If infringement occurs in a country that is a signatory to these agreements, the copyright holder may seek legal remedies in that jurisdiction. However, the success of such enforcement can vary widely depending on the local laws and to the extent to which copyright is protected in that particular country. 

The Challenge of Control and Attribution

Technological advancements are the biggest contributors of challenges against copyright enforcement. As digital distribution reshapes the way we disseminate and consume media, it does so too to the landscape of copyright enforcement. Such rapid technological changes have noticeably outpaced some existing laws, leading to legal gray areas and ambiguities.

Moreover, the lack of institutionalized monitoring of internet activities further complicates the enforcement of copyright laws. These forces at play propose a great challenge for legal systems attempting to balance everyone’s right to access information and the actual protection of intellectual property rights.

But what is at the core of these copyright laws?

Authorship: Copyright law protects the original creators of works and often grants exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and modify those works.

Duration: The period during which a work is protected varies by jurisdiction and type of work, but typically extends for several decades, often beyond the author's lifetime.

Fair Use: Many jurisdictions allow for limited use of copyrighted materials without permission under certain circumstances, like commentary, criticism, or education, through the principle of "fair use."

Moral Rights: In some legal systems, authors retain certain moral rights over their work, such as the right to object to derogatory treatments of their work or to be recognized as the author.

What of more latent unlicensed uses?

The use of copyrighted works as training data for artificial intelligence (AI) presents another complex dimension in the ongoing challenge of copyright enforcement. Since AI models often require large quantities of data to learn and make predictions, there may be a temptation to utilize copyrighted materials, such as text, images, or music, without proper authorization. 

This convergence of technology, intellectual property, and the digital distribution of content raises intricate legal questions and adds to the difficulties in enforcing copyright laws. Balancing the needs of AI development with the rights of content creators is a multifaceted issue that requires careful consideration and potentially new legal frameworks to address the unique challenges posed by the rapid advancements in technology.

Legal Benchmarks of Copyright Bypassed by AI-Generated Content

In recent years, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in generating creative works has blurred traditional legal boundaries surrounding copyright law. Issues center on whether AI can be regarded as an 'author,' with subsequent implications for copyright duration and moral rights. 

This dilemma becomes even more intricate in territories where copyright extends for a set amount of time after an author's death. How then, would such legal provisions cover copyrights if they were bestowed on AI – given that AI does not live nor die? 

It also ponders recognizing an AI's 'personality' or creative source, more specifically the training data for these models. In such instances, attribution of work is lacking – if not totally absent. How then, would authors/artists be able to recognize their work or be credited for their contribution?

Addressing Legal and Regulatory Concerns of AI-Content

The debate involving AI-content centers around the following key points:

Should AI-Produced Works Be Copyrighted at All?

  • Since AI does not have the limitations and needs that human authors do, it's debated whether they should have copyrights. Granting copyright might incentivize AI development, but also could be considered unnecessary as AI doesn't require incentives to create.


Who Should Own the Rights if AI Works are Copyrighted? 

  • If copyrights are extended to AI-produced works, determining ownership becomes complex. Options include the AI itself, the programmer or company that developed the AI, or the end-users. Each option has its problems and implications.


The Sui Generis Right as an Alternative: 

  • A special or unique legal right specifically designed for AI-produced works, akin to the protections granted to databases in the European Union. This would allow for a more tailored approach that might avoid some of the problems associated with applying traditional copyright law to AI.

The debate over extending copyright to AI-produced works touches upon a complex intersection of technology, law, and creativity. These debates on not granting copyright protection to AI-generated creations emphasizes the need to protect human creators. At the same time, these conversations also exist to not impede AI development altogether. 

At the end of the day, these debates underscore the need for new laws that will cover these emerging complexities. As AI continues to evolve, it will likely necessitate careful deliberation and potential reevaluation of foundational copyright concepts by lawmakers, legal scholars, and courts. The ongoing discourse represents a dynamic and evolving field that calls for a thoughtful balance between safeguarding human creativity and accommodating the ever-changing landscape of technological innovation.

Considerations For Concerned Parties

The evolution within the content creation landscape entails many considerations for different professions. Here are some of the more apparent ones:

Visual Artists and Designers

Visual artists and designers are alarmed by AI-generated imagery that may dilute the uniqueness of human-created art. For example, AI-generated art sold at auctions has led to debates about originality and creativity. The irreplaceable role of human creativity in art and design cannot be overstated. Human legal translation can serve as a safeguard, helping to protect the integrity and uniqueness of artistic creations in this digital era.

Human Legal Translation

Legal professionals face daunting challenges in addressing copyright issues arising from AI-generated content. The rapid pace of technological innovation contrasts sharply with the more gradual evolution of legal frameworks. Human expertise is essential in interpreting and applying copyright law, especially in complex AI contexts. Human translators offer the ability to understand context, intent, and creative nuances, bridging the gap between law and technology.

Marketers and Business Owners

Businesses risk legal consequences and damage to brand reputation when using AI-generated content without proper copyright checks. For instance, AI-generated marketing content that inadvertently replicates existing copyrighted material can lead to lawsuits and public relations nightmares. Human legal translation plays a pivotal role in ensuring that content meets legal standards and respects copyrights. It builds trust, demonstrating a commitment to integrity and ethical practice.

Ready to Safeguard Your Creative Vision?

In a world where AI-generated content blurs the lines of originality, preserving your work's authenticity becomes paramount. Discover how our human legal translation services can provide the expertise you need to protect your intellectual property rights. Let us help you navigate the complexities of copyright law and ensure your creativity receives the recognition it deserves. Explore our legal translation services.

By Clarriza Heruela

Clarriza Mae Heruela graduated from the University of the Philippines Mindanao with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, majoring in Creative Writing. Her experience from growing up in a multilingually diverse household has influenced her career and writing style. She is still exploring her writing path and is always on the lookout for interesting topics that pique her interest.



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