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Authored by Algorithms

In a recent and significant legal development, an innovative artificial intelligence (AI) program called "RAGHAV" was initially recognized as a co-author of a copyrighted work. Although the attempt to designate AI as the sole author faced rejection, the Indian Copyright Office did approve the application when the human creator was acknowledged as a co-author alongside the AI tool.

Moreover, the 161st report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which evaluated the Indian Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime, added a new chapter to this legal drama by suggesting the creation of a special class of rights designed for breakthroughs connected to AI. The report provided possible solutions to protect these developments within the framework of IPRs1

These incidents highlight a major advancement in AI technology, one that is significant enough to have an impact on the law, especially in the area of IPRs. However, the current copyright protection framework under Indian law still falls short of addressing the issues related to copyright registration and protection for AI2.

In addition, it fails to specifically acknowledge AI as an author, which creates difficulties when establishing ownership of the content generated by AI technologies. The evolving nature of this issue is further discussed hereafter.

Even though recent breakthroughs have provided joint-authorship to an AI and its author, current Indian law is unequipped to provide regulations regarding AI personhood or its generated works. The ambiguous title of an AI, left unrecognized by the law leaves a wider scope for interpretation, substantial pressing problems and opens floodgates of debates regarding AI personhood. The law recognizes joint authorship u/s 2(z)3 of the act. S2(z) 4 r/w S17(a)5provides joint ownership as well as authorship to Indian "natural persons". However, problems spark due to the life period of the existing copyright on the work.

When an AI is given co-authorship with a human author, the lifespan of the author who passes away last is taken into account when calculating the sixty-year timeline. Since AI is immortal, in these circumstances, these works will never be made public, making the implementation of such an assessment implausible.Furthermore, despite AI having legal personhood under special circumstances, CA,6 has up until now only recognized natural persons as authors u/s 2(d)7 and owners u/s 178 .

Authorship, ownership and copyright protection is exclusively granted to works stemming from human ingenuity, skill and judgement as opposed to "creations "generated through algorithms and pre-existing data 9 . An author, is naturally granted the ownership to their creations under IPR laws.

An AI, however, cannot protect or acknowledge its own works and lacks the legal implications to be considered as a legal person or author. Hence, S2(d)(v)10 defines authors of computer-generated works as 'the person who causes the work to be created", implying that only a natural person can claim copyright in the realm of Indian law. Until human intervention is involved in the creation of their works, artificial persons are not entitled to copyrights as such. 11

This leaves a gray area when it comes to works generated solely by AI algorithms. Originality is one of the yardsticks to assess the availability of copyright protection to a work. It is the sine qua non to obtain copyright protection. However, the word itself has not been defined in the statute leaving it to the courts to determine whether a work qualifies as "original"12.

Nonetheless, it is clear from following and analyzing several rulings that a work will be regarded as unique provided it is significantly independent of plagiarism. AI-generated content is based on data from pre- existing sources and data fed into it while training and therefore may significantly lack in the area of originality and creativity. Such content is understood as software outcomes rather than manifestations of intellectual creativity intended for digital presentation.

However, a point of contention regarding this is that not every human has inherent skills either. Skill is acquired by learning from the creations of the past. Humans relying upon past works are not incapacitated from claiming copyright for their works. Logically, AI generated works should follow the same set of ideas, since copyright protects not the idea but the expression of the same which upholds the concept of originality. This brings us to the final discourse regarding moral rights of an AI. An AI lacks human intelligence and paternity and merely generates autonomous content in its output. This restrains AI from tightening its relationship as an artist and its art under S57 of CA,195713.

In cases of mutilation and distortion of their original works, an author can claim damages and safeguard their creations from further damage. A computer program is devoid of personality or morals unlike natural persons, and so AI not having a disposition prevents it from exercising any moral rights14

Nonetheless, in contemplating AIs future legal standing, even if it is in the absence of explicit legal recognition, there should be an acknowledgement for its output through distinct norms, separate from conventional copyright standards15. This approach might close current gaps without materially undermining prevailing legislations. Another avenue entails a proactive update of intellectual property laws to conform with the evolving landscape of AI technology.

Modifications to the Act are essential in order to successfully manage the issues of copyright ownership, fair use, and AI-generated content in the digital age. First and foremost, it may be appropriate to consider extending the definition of "author" in Section 2(d)16. An explicit inclusion of AI in the concept of "author" for works that are generated automatically and without human intervention would be one possible change.

Furthermore, Section 2317 of the Act may be amended to include AI within its scope by changing the term of protection, possibly by defining protection beginning on the date of creation and lasting a predetermined amount of time. This is to guarantee that, while giving an AI tool comparable rights, human intellect and originality will never be questioned. Moreover, it is also essential to consider the degree and bounds of originality.

The relationship between the Act and the originality paradox has become increasingly clear in the age of AI18. This starts a larger discussion on how to redefine originality in the digital age, as creativity takes many forms and subverts accepted copyright protection standards.

There is, however, a significant obstacle to the idea of giving AI moral rights under Section 57 of the Act19. This is due to the fact that it deviates from the core tenet of the personality rights theory, which holds that moral rights are granted in reflection of the creator. However, determining what 'self' means in the context of AI becomes increasingly complex. The debate over injury and its ramifications is further complicated by the fact that moral rights depend on upholding the author's honor and reputation, which is difficult to determine in the context of AI20.

Therefore, as the conversation progresses, the way forward calls for a careful balancing act between legal frameworks and technical advancement, requiring careful considerations in the dynamic fields of

AI and IPRs.
As the landscape of AI evolves, it becomes mandatory to seek for laws which provide solutions to challenges in the existing legal framework. The discussed case brought answers to the essential dilemmas in copyright laws. The case not only facilitates the answer to "What an author is", instead of "Who an author is" but also provides a preliminary clarification of AIs standpoint in the Indian legal system.

As per the law, each co-author has the right to have association with their work and exercise the required rights. If, in the case of the present AI-tool, the human author decides to exploit this right, there is no scope of opposition, clearly indicating an infringement of moral rights which logically cannot be granted to AI. And so, while RAGHAV is still registered as a co-author of an artistic work, discussions and debates majorly conclude to be against its eligibility for the same.

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