Artificial intelligence challenges copyright law

Every generation has its moments of life-changing invention. The telephone, the computer, the internet and more have changed the way people interact with each other. As society changes, laws struggle to keep up. Even now, with the advent of artificial intelligence, those who study copyright law suggest changes may be on the horizon.

Many in New York debate the ownership of creative works that come from AI. When a computer program simulates intelligence by writing a work of fiction or painting a picture, it may seem to the average person that the computer is the owner or creator of that art. However, since computers or robots are not self-aware, the law does not accord copyright ownership to them. Instead, AI is merely functioning as it is programmed to function, not thinking for itself.

Copyright laws require intent to be present when a work is created. Since AI has no intent to create a painting or a novel, the law does not assign copyright privileges to the robot for work produced through its programming. Humans set the parameters and therefore own the copyright to any subsequent works produced. However, as AI develops, some feel it is not out of the question for self-aware robots to intentionally communicate ideas worthy of copyright protection without human guidance.

While laws may need to change as AI develops, the current laws protect the rights of people in New York who use their talents to create. The purpose of copyright laws is to secure creative rights and so to encourage more artists, scientists and creative minds to continue offering their works for the good of society. Those whose rights under copyright law are violated can seek assistance through an attorney.

Source:, "How AI and copyright would work", Dave Davis, Jan. 9, 2018

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