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Legal Parameters And The Future Surrounding Copyright Protection In AI-Generated Content

In the present scenario, copyright protection under the act in all instances is exclusively given to a living human being. To understand this rationale we have to refer to the two above-mentioned ideologies of copyright law, which are protection and encouragement. The human body, more importantly, has the awareness of protecting its rights, and with that gets motivated and encouraged to create new work.

But for the others who do not come within the ambit of living human being this sense of awareness and encouragement is missing. In the famous case of Naruto v. David Slater which is popularly known as "The Monkey Selfie Case", the ninth circuit court of California ruled that "a monkey being an animal cannot be granted a copyright protection".

The court went on to say that an animal could not be the creator or author and could not assert its claim. Under the Indian Copyright law, protection subsists in certain works, namely, original literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, cinematograph films; and sound recordings. Now, as per the current working strength of AI, it is capable of producing all these above-mentioned works. But mere capability does not grant an AI-generated work copyright protection, it required to have a modicum of creativity. This means a "minimal degree of creativity and uniqueness", i.e., there must be a substantial variation rather than a petty one. But the alarming question is can an AI-generated work reflect a minimum degree of creativity in its creation?

Can The AI Work Be Given A Copyright Protection Under The Act?

The Indian Copyright Act is the primary legislation in India, which requires a certain amount of creativity to characterize a work as copyrightable. The Copyright Act is based on protecting an idea's expression rather than the idea itself. It is crucial that the art form is tangible and exhibits enough creativity to perceptibly distinguish it from the pre-existing works or establish it as an original work. The idea of intellectual property ownership, which is dependent on the idea of authorship, is at the heart of copyright law.

To put it another way, the person requesting copyright protection must either be the work's original author or have acquired the rights from them. These laws have two major ideologies: to encourage creators to develop worthwhile and new works for the benefit of society and to prevent their works from being improperly used or misappropriated by others. Intellectual property laws promote innovation and creativity by providing a level of legal protection, and they also allow innovators to profit from their intellectual labors.

Differentiating between pure AI and human-assisted AI becomes essential in order to determine the "minimum degree of creativity". Let's take a fascinating voyage into the world of AI models that capture our imagination, like ChatGPT. ChatGPT clearly acknowledges the necessity of human intervention during its training and maintenance in its own disclaimer. This entails routing algorithm or parameter tweaking and retraining using new data. Can we practically co-relate the astounding standard of a "minimum degree of creativity" to the work produced by AI when it closely collaborates with human inputs and assistance?

Now, the proponents of copyright protection state that such kind of protection is necessary to incentivize AI programmers, investors, and users. But to the contrary, the opposing view asserts that copyright's foundations lie in human creativity and authorship and that preserving AI-generated works will diminish the value of human creativity. Furthermore, there is no proof that this protection will actually encourage the creation of an AI.

Many argue that all the work created by Artificial Intelligence is a derivative work as those are based upon priorly generated programs, and thus fail to fulfill the purpose of the idea-expression dichotomy. However, in most cases, computer-generated works do not include recognizable expressions from the underlying program or the database that the AI uses during the generative process.

This is why the output produced by computers shouldn't be automatically regarded as "derivative works" just because it could be argued that it was "derived" from or "based upon" the generator program in a common language.

Some contend that since AI-generated works lack recognizable authors, they must be exposed to the public domain. However, it can be difficult to distinguish between human and AI creations, which makes it difficult to enforce copyright rules. As an alternative, there are ideas for shorter protection periods for works created by AI, allowing unrestricted usage after expiration.

Why Cannot AI Be Given Personhood Like A Corporation?

One of the major barriers which deprive AI-generated work from getting copyright protection is the non-recognition of it as a legal person. As per the "Black's Law Dictionary", the term "legal person" refers to an entity or organization that is recognized by the law as having legal rights and responsibilities, similar to those of a human being. Now, legal rights primarily mean the right to enter into a contract, own properties, sue, and be sued.

In the framework of common law, the idea of a "legal person" acknowledges that only people or entities that possess legal personhood are able to bring or be subjected to legal actions, particularly those involving intellectual property rights. So, in order to file for intellectual property rights and seek redress for infringement, you must be a legal person. As a result, while talking about the legal rights of artificial intelligence, the issue of personhood for non-human beings becomes important.

The Companies Act 2013, which controls the creation, operation, and regulation of companies in the nation, now recognizes the legal persons of corporations in India. The Act grants corporations the status of a separate legal entity from their owners or members. This recognition is predicated on the idea that a firm, despite being a fictional character, can behave and conduct business in much the same way as a real person. Salomon v. Salomon & Co. Ltd., a precedent-setting case, is the first to establish the legal personhood of corporations.

The House of Lords in the United Kingdom ruled in this case that a corporation is a different legal entity from its stockholders and that it has its own rights and obligations. The ruling emphasized the idea of limited liability, which shields shareholders from personal responsibility for the company's obligations by limiting their culpability to the amount still owed on their shares.

Additionally, the legal personhood of corporations has continuously been supported by the Indian Supreme Court in a number of decisions. In the year 1964 decision of Tata Engineering and Locomotive Co. Ltd. v. State of Bihar, for instance, the court reaffirmed that a company has its own legal personality and is allowed to hold property, enter into contracts, and bring or bring claims against claims in its own name. For the purpose of promoting business operations, luring capital, and offering a legal framework for corporate governance, the recognition of corporate personhood in Indian law is crucial.

It makes it possible for businesses to operate, sign contracts, and take on legal obligations while also giving them the ability to be held responsible for their deeds and liabilities. Now, the primary argument which differentiates the non-recognition of an AI as an artificial legal person from that of a corporation is that the corporation has an acting brain which is the Board of Directors but the AI on the other hand does not have a designated acting brain behind it.

Now, the presumption is AI needs some kind of human intervention before it creates an output, but the percentage of human intervention required or a designated acting brain behind the functioning of an AI is still very ambiguous. Which in a way dilutes the personhood grant of an AI, like a corporation. As the apex court in the plethora of judgments held that for any act of a corporation, the BOD will be solely accountable and liable.

The Future Of AI And Copyright

As the dependency and collaboration to AI technology progresses and we start to dwell upon the future of humans and AI working together, we see a wide range of possibilities, some of which will suit to the narrative of humans while others posing significant issues for them. The pros and the cons range from AI and humans working together smoothly to generate new technologies and innovation in the field of science, medicine and engineering whilst potential legal messes are to be created when it comes to literature and artistic works as to who may be referred as the true owner of any creation and as to how to measure the originality of a said creation.

For the current time being AI could simply be termed as a helpful tool, like a fancy paintbrush, or a helping hand making human endeavors in creation of new technology easier, accurate and less prone to error. In this setup, any content that the AI helps to create would be seen as a creation by the hands, minds and effort of the human mind with AI only adding the finishing touches to the creation to make it as perfect as possible with full copyright belonging to humans.

However the issue arises as AI gets smarter with time and evolves through what it learns, we have to ask: does it deserve some credit too? For it helps the creator in making his creation a near perfect and helps in avoiding the mistakes which would harm the value of what the end result may look like.

So, should it be considered a co-creator? This idea suggests that the law would need to make a plethora of changes to accommodate AI as a co creator and recognizing its effort as a contributor just like a human being. But then again, the AI tools are developed by human beings and does that mean that the developer of that particular AI technology will also have a owner right into that creation. Doing so, will result in recognizing AI as more than just a mere tool.

The challenges and possibilities do not end at that note. What if AI becomes so advanced that it starts making stuff on its own, without human input.. similar to how electrons start producing electrons in a chain reaction and do so without needing any external input. That's a whole different story. And the future to that is not so far away we are seeing � self healing codes which recognize and amend errors while programming themselves, "Stackflow's CI Code" is a perfect example to that. In this scenario, it's not clear who should own what AI creates. Should AI creations get their own special type of copyright, different from what humans get?

In conclusion, the future relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and copyright presents a complex terrain with significant implications for creativity, ownership, and legal systems. As AI technology progresses, there are growing concerns about its role in creating content and how copyright protection should be assigned. While AI currently serves as a tool to enhance human creativity, its potential as a collaborator challenges traditional ideas about who should be considered the sole creator.

The rise of autonomous content generated by AI adds further complexity, leading to discussions about the necessity for new legal frameworks to address issues of ownership and attribution. Navigating this evolving landscape requires finding a balance between encouraging innovation, safeguarding human creative expression, and ensuring fairness for all involved parties. Ultimately, understanding the capabilities of AI, the essence of creativity, and the changing relationship between humans and technology is crucial for shaping the future of copyright laws.

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