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US Copyright Office Seeks Public Input on AI and Copyright: Shape the Future

US Government Want To Know How The Public Feel About AI Have Your Say

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The United States Copyright Office is taking a significant step toward understanding the complex relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and copyright law. Generative AI technologies, which can produce a wide range of content from videos, images to even poetry, are at the heart of this inquiry.

Beginning on August 30th, 2023, the Copyright Office is inviting the public to share their insights on the copyright implications of AI, marking an essential phase in their examination of these matters.

Scope and Purpose of the Public Comment Period

The public comment period is designed to serve as a collective knowledge pool, with contributions expected from artists, creative industries, AI developers, researchers, legal professionals, academics, and consumers. The inputs gathered during this process will play a pivotal role in shaping the Copyright Office’s policy recommendations and guidelines regarding AI and copyright.

The primary areas of focus for the public comment period are:

  1. Use of Copyrighted Works in AI Training: How AI models employ copyrighted content in their training data, the advantages and disadvantages of this usage, and whether existing exceptions and limitations like fair use are adequate or require clarification or modification.
  2. Eligibility and Ownership of AI-Generated Works: The copyright eligibility of AI-generated works, the degree to which they can be considered original and expressive, and the questions surrounding authorship and ownership of these creations.
  3. Liability and Responsibility of AI Users and Developers: Whether AI users and developers should be held accountable for any infringement or misuse of copyrighted works, and the level of transparency and disclosure needed concerning the utilization of copyrighted material.

The public comment period will also address tangential issues, including the moral rights and attribution associated with AI-generated works, licensing and contractual arrangements for such works, the registration and recordation of AI-generated creations, and the international dimensions of AI and copyright.

How to Submit Public Comments

The public comment period consists of two rounds: the submission of written comments and reply comments. All written comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. For those wishing to submit written reply comments, the deadline is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.

Comments are to be submitted electronically through regulations.gov. Detailed instructions for this process can be found on the Copyright Office website. If electronic submission poses challenges, alternative instructions are available upon contact with the Copyright Office.

For inquiries and further information, individuals can reach out to Rhea Efthimiadis, Assistant to the General Counsel, via email at meft@copyright.gov or by telephone at 202–707–8350.

Background and Context of the Public Comment Period

This public comment period forms part of a broader initiative driven by the Copyright Office to study AI’s impact on the copyright system. The surge in generative AI technologies’ development and widespread utilization has presented new challenges and opportunities for content creators, users, and policymakers within the AI and synthetic media landscape.

The initiative’s origins trace back to a series of public listening sessions hosted by the agency in the spring of 2023. These sessions sought insights and experiences from stakeholders across various sectors concerning AI and copyright. Topics ranged from literary works (including software) and visual works to audiovisual works, music, sound recordings, and international copyright matters.

The initiative is also built on past Copyright Office efforts to explore the convergence of AI and copyright. This includes a 2022 report on moral rights protection in the United States with a specific discussion on the attribution of AI-generated works. Additionally, a 2021 final rule on group registration of short online literary works was issued, explicitly excluding works created by automated processes or algorithms.

The culmination of this initiative is expected to be a comprehensive report. This report will consolidate the insights garnered during the public comment period and offer policy recommendations and guidelines concerning the intersection of AI and copyright. It represents a pivotal moment in the evolution of copyright law in the digital age.

We would not be surprised if the US decides to go down a similar route to Japan. This allows people to still use AI generative tools but not to profit off of them.

US Copyright Office Seeks Public Input on AI and Copyright: Shape the Future
This could end two ways only time will tell

Conclusion

The US Copyright Office’s public comment period is a significant step in understanding and shaping the future of AI and copyright. It invites diverse perspectives and expertise to inform the development of policies and guidelines that will navigate this dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape. As the Copyright Office examines AI’s impact on copyright, it seeks to balance innovation and protection, ensuring a fair and thriving creative environment.


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