Copyright and Generative AI AI Tools and Resources LibGuides at University of South Florida Libraries

Generative AI and copyright law: Whats the future for IP?

While all users of generative AI ought to be sensitive to copyright issues, it is especially vital that large enterprises toe the copyright line, as those organizations represent ripe targets for large lawsuits by the rightful owners of intellectual property. Howell found that “courts have uniformly declined to recognize copyright in works created absent any human involvement,” citing cases where copyright protection was denied for celestial beings, a cultivated garden, and a monkey who took a selfie. For written content creators, for example, there are tools such as Grammarly or Turnitin that can be used to identify plagiarism (and percentage). There are also tools such as the OpenAI text classifier, which allow users to copy and paste text to analyze the probability that it was created by a human or by AI. “Copyright has never stretched so far, however, as to protect works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand,” she concludes. Over the past few years, AI has dominated headlines, increasing awareness and intrigue about its promises and perils.

generative ai copyright

Generative AI tools including ChatGPT, Bard and Meta's Llama 2, were developed using massive amounts of information and data scraped and saved by automated web crawlers, which suck up everything they can online, including millions of works under copyright. The major tech companies behind these generative AI tools use the crawled data to train their models without paying the creators who produced the original content. Our designers are exploring the endless possibilities that come with generative AI, but AI-generated content will only be utilised in initial storyboarding and conceptual drafts. In other words, AI-generated content will only serve as productivity or ideational tools for now. We are looking forward to the day when there is clear direction on the ethics and copyright laws surrounding generative AI, before we can safely offer it as an end product to our clients without infringing the rights of the originating creators. As noted, in response to this concern, in the proposed AI Act EU lawmakers are currently considering requiring providers of generative AI systems that they “make publicly available a summary disclosing the use of training data protected under copyright law.” But the devil is in the details.

Unraveling Overconfidence, Privacy Guardians, Billion-Dollar AI, Translation Triumphs, and Copyright Challenges

According to Mahari, there are still many questions regarding whether an AI tool generating a piece of art copying the style of an original work is to be considered fair use, and even in the case where it is, there will still be a strong need to compensate the original artists and protect their work. Perhaps this case in history is the closest that can serve as a guide on what to expect from AI-generated content copyright laws. “The way that laws in the US especially work is that we have certain laws on the books and then when new technologies arise, then it's up to judges to decide how those laws are going to be applied, and that means that we need to see cases. It's such a new technology that a lot of the questions just haven't reached the courts yet,” Robert Mahari, co-author of the study, told Euronews Next. The win triggered many angry responses from artists who claimed that AI will be the death of creativity and art if an AI-generated picture is considered more creative than human work. In addition to being a new tool in the tech world, AI has proven capable of completing tasks only humans could do until very recently.

  • In addition, GAI providers/defendants may argue that there was no copying and that the AI system only “used” the Input Work.
  • In other words, unless a copyright owner expressly prohibits the ingestion of her works, the AI system may ingest it.
  • While this case did not test the Office’s positions, it is likely that such a case, forcing a court to weigh human direction against AI generation, is just around the corner.
  • Copyright Office (USCO) decision provided some clarity on whether generative AI output is actually copyrightable — while at the same time creating practical challenges for software developers.

As noted, the commercial TDM exception provides an opt-out mechanism for rights holders. In the US, absent a specific TDM exception, the legal question is whether these activities qualify as fair use. The result is that US copyright law is arguably one of the most permissive for TDM activities in the world, especially when compared to laws that rely on stricter exceptions and limitations, like the EU (see here). This would make the US an appealing jurisdiction for companies to develop generative AI tools (as noted here). The interpretation of the fair use defense will play an important role in the ability to exploit generative AI technology worldwide. If the United States can establish a consistent philosophical approach to guide intellectual property regulations now and moving forward, the generative AI industry will flourish within the established guardrails, and the world may well follow the approach taken by the United States.

Generative AI Generates Excitement—and Copyright Concerns

“The Stack’s approach can absolutely be adapted to other media,” Yacine Jernite, Machine Learning & Society lead at Hugging Face, which helped create The Stack in collaboration with partner ServiceNow, told The Verge. Others, though, point out that we’ve already navigated copyright issues of comparable scale and complexity and can do so again. A comparison invoked by several experts The Verge spoke to was the era of music piracy, when file-sharing programs were built on the back of massive copyright infringement and prospered only until there were legal challenges that led to new agreements that respected copyright.

In addition, an anomalous consequence of this approach is that, when considering two substantially similar Output Works, one of them may be considered non-infringing while another would be considered infringing. Moreover, specific enough prompt engineering, the process of manipulating prompts to generate Yakov Livshits desired outputs, may generate an Output Work designed to mimic the character and creative expression of a single author or work. As a result, fair use minimalists contend that the Input Works and Output Work cannot truly be separated, and the Output Works should be considered infringing derivative works.


Yakov Livshits
Founder of the DevEducation project
A prolific businessman and investor, and the founder of several large companies in Israel, the USA and the UAE, Yakov’s corporation comprises over 2,000 employees all over the world. He graduated from the University of Oxford in the UK and Technion in Israel, before moving on to study complex systems science at NECSI in the USA. Yakov has a Masters in Software Development.


Under this approach, only works generated from sufficiently diverse Input Works that do not copy the “heart” of the expression contained in the Input Works should receive fair use protections. Thus, any infringement inquiry should focus on the sufficiency of the training set of Input Works and the specificity of the prompts made by the user used to refine or generate the Output Work. First, all Output Works must necessarily infringe on the copyrights of authors of Input Works or unavoidably induce infringement of those copyrights. Thus, authors of Input Works would have some rights to remuneration from exploitation of any Output Works or otherwise to the exploitation of any Output Works.

generative ai copyright

The case made its way to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia after the U.S. Copyright Office twice refused a copyright to plaintiff Stephan Thaler for an image generated by the Creativity Machine algorithm, a program he created. Judge Beryl A. Howell sided with the office’s decision, saying “defendants are correct that human authorship is an essential part of a valid copyright claim. When Thaler requested reconsideration of his application, he argued that “AI should be ‘acknowledge[d] … as an author where it otherwise meets authorship criteria, with any copyright ownership vesting in the AI’s owner,’” according to the memo reviewed by Vulture.

The ChatGPT list of lists: A collection of 3000+ prompts, examples, use-cases, tools, APIs…

🧠 Generative AI reshapes content creation and poses challenges in attributing individual author contributions. Fostering collaboration between authors and developers is crucial in finding ethical solutions that respect copyright and drive innovation. In the ever-evolving landscape Yakov Livshits of technology, Generative AI programs have emerged as a groundbreaking force, reshaping industries and propelling content creation to new heights. Considering the momentum behind these new provisions in the AI Act, it is expected that they will make it to the trilogue stage.

In a notice filed Wednesday, the US Copyright Office said it is opening up a period of public comment, now through October 18, to further "inform" its ongoing study of artificial intelligence tools like Midjourney, OpenAI's ChatGPT, and Google Bard. “Undoubtedly, we are approaching new frontiers in copyright as artists put AI in their toolbox to be used in the generation of new visual and other artistic works,” the judge wrote. "GPT-4 warns users about this. The model becomes problematic when systems make claims based on past knowledge that is now known to be untrue. Imagine a case where a system describes someone as a convicted killer, but that person was completely exonerated after the system was trained."

California lawmaker proposes regulation of AI models

A user could specify what license terms were acceptable, and the system would generate appropriate output–including licenses and attributions, and taking care of compensation where necessary. We need to remember that few of the current generative AI tools that now exist can be used “for free.” They generate income, and that income can be used to compensate creators. A recent court ruling illustrates the growing debate around AI-generated artwork and whether it should be eligible for copyright protection. Because the LLM does not contain anyone else’s expression, it does not infringe copyright. But what about the copying necessary to create the dataset from which the LLM is derived? Although high-quality generative AI is new, AI itself has been in use for at least two decades; and several courts have found that the copying necessary to develop these AI tools is a fair use.

Copyright Office issues notice of inquiry on copyright and artificial ... - United States Patent and Trademark Office

Copyright Office issues notice of inquiry on copyright and artificial ....

Posted: Tue, 05 Sep 2023 07:00:00 GMT [source]

Looking ahead, the level at which U.S. courts protect and measure human-made inputs in generative AI models could be reminiscent of what we’ve seen globally, particularly in other Western nations. The United States operates under a common law system, meaning legislative precedents are often set first by judges in courts. So, while all these pending lawsuits and others continue to mount, the fair use doctrine’s place in the ongoing saga of the artificial intelligence industry is still very much up in the air. “If a machine and a human work together, but you can separate what each of them has done, then [copyright] will only focus on the human part,” Daniel Gervais, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School, told Built In.

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