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AI and Copyright Law: Ownership and Accountability

This article provides insight into the complex field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on copyright law. This highlights an evolving landscape where questions regarding authorship and the eligibility of AI-generated works for copyright protection are at the forefront. This examination explores different worldviews, regulatory approaches and their increasingly AI-driven world for innovation, creativity and intellectual property.

Copyright is basically rights given to the other for his original work i.e. original artistic, literary, musical, dramatic work. Although copyright also protects software or coding of software as a literary work and AI (artificial intelligence) is the part of it. Although AI was created through programming, it is now capable of activities such as creating original works such as original music, writing articles, lyrics, pictures and images.

In 2017, Google funded the Press Service Association's artificial intelligence program to write local articles. In 2016, the novel "Konpyuta ga Shosetsu wo Kaku Hi" reached the second round of the Nikkei Hoshi Shinichi Literary Prize in Japan, but it was the first time the panel had received a submission from an AI.

AI-Generated Art and Copyright: A Global Jurisdictional Perspective

The art work that is created on computer is mostly created by giving input by a coder or individual, but nowadays as artificial intelligence, machine learning software's are developed they are able to create original work by themselves by giving data input. AI explores data that are accessible in public domains so there is a high chance that AI-generated work may contain some elements of someone else's work.

If AI is given the right to own the work generated by him and the work contains some obnoxious or defamatory content, it will be very challenging to hold the creator or owner liable. But currently there is no provision in any jurisdiction that AI can own original work created by itself. So will such works get copyright protection or not? This varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

In India's jurisdiction, the copyright of an artist's work which is computer generated shall be vested in the person who contributed the input, as stated in section 2(d)(vi) of the Copyright Act 1957. The rest of the same method is in the jurisdiction of many other countries such as United Kingdom, Hong Kong. According to section 9(3) Of CDPA (Copyright Design and Patent Act of UK)

"In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, the author shall be taken to be the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken" by both India's and the UK's legislation we conclude that the AI-generated work's authorship is granted to the owner or developer of AI. The logic behind this is AI will not come into existence without its developer, therefore the authorship will granted to its programmer or developer.

On the other hand, the work created by AI cannot get any copyright protection without any human intervention in the jurisdiction of the rest of the countries and this is mostly found in the jurisdiction of the US, Spain, and Germany. In this jurisdiction original work is qualified only if it has a human author. In the United States, a clear precedent was set in cases like Naruto v. Slater, commonly referred to as the "monkey selfie" case.

In this case, a British photographer called Slater requested copyright registration for a photograph taken by a monkey, but the US Copyright Office denied the application, stating that the shot was taken without human intervention. This case demonstrates that if the US Copyright Office declines to protect works made by natural beings, it is unlikely that they will cover works generated by artificial intelligence (AI).

Navigating the Complexities of AI in Art: Copyright, Accountability, and Challenges Ahead

The integration of artificial intelligence in the creative process raises a challenging issue: the blurring of lines between artist-generated and computer-generated content. Left unchecked, the continuous use of generative AI in art creation can pose significant problems for both artists and the technology itself.

Since AI draws from publicly available data, when an artist employs AI to create artwork, there is a heightened risk of inadvertently replicating or closely resembling another artist's work. This raises questions about accountability in cases of copyright infringement: Should the blame fall on the AI, the AI developer, or the artist who initiated the process? Determining culpability is a complex and uncertain matter, contributing to what is often referred to as the "artist's great tragedy" in the age of AI.

If AI companies are ultimately found to have violated the copyrights of creators, it could result in numerous legal disputes in the years ahead, potentially leading to substantial fines for the responsible companies.

Copyright Challenges and the Battle for Authorship

Currently there are only two ways to either deny copyright protection for a work that is computer (AI) generated as in many jurisdictions like the US, Germany and Spain. In 1991, a significant dispute reached the United States Supreme Court in the case of Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., Inc. The primary question at hand was whether names, phone numbers, and addresses from a directory could be subject to copyright protection. In this case, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark ruling, stating that "the products of intellectual effort" are based on the creative abilities of the mind.

In a similar vein, the Australian case Acohs Pty Ltd v Ucorp Pty Ltd in 2010 raised a crucial question: Does the HTML Infosafe source code qualify as a literary work eligible for copyright protection? The court ruled that a work created with the assistance of a computer could not be safeguarded by copyright since it was not crafted by a human.

The authorship of computer-generated material can also be assigned to the AI's programmer or developer. Many jurisdictions, including India, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong, use this strategy. In 2021, a "Suryast" artwork made by an AI named Raghav, an artificial intelligence painting program, was co-authored for the first time in India. This is the first time in India that an AI-created work has gotten copyright recognition.

AI Art and the Debate Over Creativity Automation

In the field of AI art, a serious quandary has arisen: Should we use robots to create art? This question makes us think about the nature of human creativity and expression. Why are we enabling machines to do the things that make us happy, arouse our emotions, and define our human experience? It assists us in determining what is most essential in our society, particularly in a profit-driven economy.

We wonder if making things more efficient and profitable through automation is more important than preserving the unique value of human creativity, emotional connection, and art. This dilemma goes beyond artificial intelligence and art to identifying what is significant in a technologically driven future.

Navigating the AI Pros and Cons: The Need for Regulation

AI offers both benefits and drawbacks. When considering the advantages, we may evaluate its use in rational decision-making in the medical field, as well as its correctness, impartiality, and durability. When we consider the disadvantages, however, problems like as exorbitant expenses, increasing unemployment, and the possibility for misuse against humanity surface, making it a difficult matter.

The need for AI regulation is apparent. As AI's impact grows, so does the concentration of power among a few firms that control AI. These firms play an important role in the AI system and need serious government monitoring. Such firms' misuse of AI might have devastating effects for society. Many nations across the world have begun to take measures toward AI legislation, and India followed this trend in 2018 by establishing two roadmaps.

The Ministry of Commerce, which founded the AI Task Force, created one roadmap. The other is NITI Aayog's "National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence." The specifics of these legislation are yet unknown, although experts agree on some issues. According to a report, regulating AI applications is more crucial than general AI regulation. Additionally, specific regulations should govern data collection in AI applications where it can pose problems. Given that AI technology companies are not self-regulating, regulatory measures are essential to ensure the safety of the population.

In conclusion, the confluence of artificial intelligence (AI) and copyright law presents a complex challenge that varies by region. The central debate revolves around whether AI-generated works deserve copyright protection and who should be considered the rightful owner.

A practical solution is to grant copyright to the individual or entity responsible for enabling AI's creative output, similar to the UK's approach. This approach incentivizes investment in AI technology while ensuring that those who make it possible receive proper recognition.

In essence, the evolving landscape of AI and copyright emphasizes the need to adapt legal frameworks to embrace technological progress while safeguarding the interests of creators, innovators, and society as a whole. This ongoing discussion and the emergence of regulatory guidelines emphasize the importance of continued dialogue and proactive measures to strike a balance between innovation, creativity, and the protection of intellectual property in our AI-driven world.


Written By: Atharv Deotarse a 4th year BA LLB student of New Law College, Ahmednagar.

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