SCOTLIN was delighted to host a guest lecture on "AI Art & Copyright" with Prof Pablo Carballo-Calero (Universidade de Vigo), Academic Counsel at HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER (Madrid).
The event has been recorded and can be watched on our YouTube channel.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer science fiction: it interacts with us, provides quick and effective solutions and, without us even realizing it, has become part of our lives. AI, with applications in multiple sectors such as health, transport, armaments, education, agriculture, finance, security and a long etcetera, is by no means alien to law. In 1991, the International Association for Artificial Intelligence and Law (IAAIL) was created and, a year later, the first issue of the Artificial Intelligence and Law journal was published, a four-monthly publication that today runs to 31 volumes. Beyond these milestones, suffice to say that the impact of AI in the legal field has prompted a thought-provoking debate about the possibility of machines replacing human beings in the future by delivering judgements and other rulings.
Regarding copyright law, the relationship between authors and the software used to bring their creations to life has not traditionally posed any problems. Indeed, until the recent past, it has been a matter of course to state that the software used by the author to conceive a given work is, in most cases, a mere tool – necessary to a greater or lesser extent - but, in anycase, a simple support element in the creative process. In this context, the user of the tool (and not the inventor of the tool) would undoubtedly deserve the status of author of the results obtained. After all, tools (however sophisticated they may be) are just that: tools or support elements that, under the control of the users, enable the latter to translate or execute the product of their creative mind in the physical world.
This initial approach has changed radically with the development of AI systems and particularly with the development of machine learning software, a branch of artificial intelligence that produces autonomous systems capable of learning on their own. Thus, certain AI systems are more than tools through which users express their own ideas. Unlike ordinary tools, whose results always reflect the creative contributions of their users, such systems are potentially capable of creating content with “no” or minimal human intervention.
In this context, the lecture delves into the interaction between AI and copyright and raises the following question in particular: Should copyright be attributed to original literary and artistic works that are autonomously generated by AI or should a human creator be required? In order to answer this question, it is essential to distinguish between (i) works produced autonomously by AI systems (AI-generated works) and (ii) works produced by AI systems in which a relevant human contribution is verified (AI-assisted works). From this starting point, we will discuss if the traditional axiom that “just original works created by a natural person are the object of copyright” is still valid, or whether, on the contrary, the irruption of intelligent machines should alter the current status quo.
Discussant: Dr Melissa Avdeeff, University of Stirling.