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My article “Copyright and Generative Artificial Intelligence” has been published in the April 2023 edition of “Brief”, the journal of the Law Society of Western Australia.

The theme of this edition of Brief is Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Law, and my article looks at Australian copyright issues around generative AI, both the “output” and “input” sides of AI-generated content. Is there any copyright in a robot’s creation? Authorship has always been the touchstone for the existence of copyright, and my article looks at whether copyright subsists in AI generated content with no human author. 

And on the input side, can robots infringe copyright? The article also looks at how generative AI could be stifled if using third party copyright materials for machine learning constitutes infringement in the absence of a copyright licence or consent.

My conclusion is that:

Although it may seem unintuitive, current Australian copyright law results in perhaps nobody being the owner of content generated by an AI system due to lack of an identifiable human author, and moreover, using copyright content to train a machine learning system without the consent of copyright owners risks infringement. Without reform, this could greatly stifle the development of AI technology, although this status quo does retain a measure of protection for human creators concerned about the pendulum swinging too far in favour of robots.

I also take a look at an 1880s copyright case about the then new science of photography, and look at how new tech then, and new generative AI tech now, have to grapple with the common issue of dealing with assessing authorship, and therefore, subsistence of copyright.

Click through to the article here.

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