ChatGPT AI technology will create copyright law problems
About the authors: Sean C. Helms And Jason de Cresier They are partners in the international law firm McDermott Will & Emery and co-chairs of the firm’s technology and outsourcing practice.
Generative AI is taking the world by storm, its tendrils penetrating every corner of the internet. At the forefront of the AI revolution as an innovator is ChatGPT, the cutting-edge chatbot developed by OpenAI. chat It amassed more than 1 million users in just one week after it was unveiled in November.
With just a few words of help, ChatGPT can generate coherent and fluent text that feels man-made. ChatGPT can be used to create articles, poems, essays, stories and ad copy. He can even write computer code. In fact, some parts of this article were initially built using ChatGPT.
The sudden spread of ChatGPT raises a difficult problem. Are works created with ChatGPT protected by copyright laws? The answer is not clear. Unfortunately, the Copyright Code does not expressly address works of authorship created by devices. This isn’t surprising given that copyright law was written long before the Internet, the year VHS tape was introduced.
Microsoft makes a file Huge investment At OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. Analysts believe that AI technology will soon be available in products such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, which are the primary authoring tools in the business world. There’s a strong possibility that ChatGPT will soon offer paragraph-size suggestions, in real time, while we’re writing a story, writing a report, or even writing a contract. This reality makes it all the more important to consider the legal protections (or lack thereof) around works created with generative AI and the current construction of US copyright law.
First, a quick primer on copyright law. Written work products are protected by copyright. This prevents a person from simply copying someone else’s work. Because of copyright law, we know we have to pay Prince Harry to read the book spare instead of making a hardcover copy of our friend.
In the United States, copyright law is governed by the Copyright Act of 1976. This law gives authors of “original works of authorship” exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and display their work. Copyright protection applies from the moment of creation, and for most works the copyright term is the life of the author plus 70 years after the death of the author. Copyright law gives authors exclusive rights to control the use of their work (subject to some “fair use” exceptions).
In order to be protected by copyright law, the United States Copyright Office says that works must be the creation of a human author. United States copyright law does not protect text, images, or artwork created by machines, computers, animals, or any non-human creators. So, can ChatGPT output be copyright protected? Under current law, this is a complicated question.
Not all text is subject to copyright protection. Supreme Court in 1991 Feist case It found that there must be “creative choices” to generate enough originality to warrant protection under copyright law. In this case, the court decided that the information in the telephone directory did not deserve copyright protection because it did not possess enough human ingenuity to qualify as the original work.
Scientists, courts and the US Copyright Office have said that the output of AI systems working alone cannot be protected because the work must be an original work of the human mind. But, what of joint labour, the work of part man and part machine? Copyright can protect works made with machines. We use digital cameras to create copyrighted images, iPads to draw copyrighted images, and software to edit copyrighted music. Could ChatGPT be just another tool for humans to create copyrighted works?
Under current law, the answer revolves around the level of human involvement. If someone writes a brief prompt instructing ChatGPT to “write a story about a girl riding a bicycle,” the resulting text is unlikely to contain enough human creativity to qualify under copyright law. But what if a human modifies ChatGPT and continually instructs it to adjust a story, for example by (asking ChatGPT to introduce characters, change the plot, modify the setting, or create alternative endings? It appears that the resulting text might qualify for copyright protection. But there is no Clear answer as to when the level of human involvement guides the measure to qualify a work as protected under current copyright law.
People spend most of the day interacting with technology. Computers are constantly helping us in all forms of expression. Companies like Neuralink are exploring how to integrate artificial intelligence and the human brain. It is not science fiction to say that the line between man and machine is blurred and copyright should take into account this new reality.
Since it will soon be impossible to tell where the creative process of the human mind stopped and the machine began, Congress must revise our old copyright law to allow for the protection of machine-generated works. Copyright protection should be available if the work is original (i.e. not copied), and the creative process for that specific work was initiated by a human. Note that we do not advocate allowing copyright protection for works that are entirely computer generated; Although it is worth noting that leading industrial countries including the United Kingdom and Ireland allow such protection. A review of copyright law can clarify the level of human involvement required to receive copyright protection.
Copyright law has been revised five times since its inception in 1886, but not in the past 76 years. Today there is an amorphous rule that machine creations are not entitled to copyright protection unless there is a sufficient level of human involvement. This lack of clarity will lead to copyright challenges and potentially hinder investment in creatives Artificial intelligence technologies. A review of existing copyright law would bring needed clarity at a time that almost certainly dawned a productive era for artificial intelligence.
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