AI Copyright Update: Communication from the ABA to the Copyright Office

The Intellectual Property Law Section of the American Bar Association has presented a series of observations in reaction to the U.S. Copyright Office’s request for comments regarding the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and copyright law. With the ABA’s membership spanning a broad range of industries and legal specializations, opinions within the organization naturally vary. However, consensus was reached on several key points:

The ABA reaffirmed its stance that an AI generative system should not be recognized as an author in its own right.

The ABA suggested that the Copyright Office may be overstepping by refusing to register AI-assisted works and advised the Office to develop guidelines that respect a claimant’s discernment of authorship, leaving specifics of authorship to be determined through usual enforcement and licensing procedures.

The ABA noted that it is too soon to formulate specific legislation concerning the issues presented in the Office’s Notice of Inquiry, advocating instead for ongoing observation and evaluation due to the swift evolution of AI technologies and the accompanying legal complexities.

The organization highlighted the intricate nature of fair use determinations, especially in the context of AI, where the specifics of AI training data can often be uncertain or variable.

The ABA also acknowledged that legal professionals, much like other sectors, stand to experience both the advantages and upheavals brought on by AI technologies.

The stance taken by the ABA was characterized by a balance between diligence and prudence, emphasizing the importance of navigating the challenges posed by AI systems carefully to prevent negative impacts while fostering the growth of beneficial technology that could significantly contribute to the U.S. economy and its competitive edge on the global stage.

The initial draft of this commentary was produced by the ABA’s Copyright and Emerging Tech Committee. You can read the full letter here.

Author: Mitch Jackson

I'm a California trial lawyer trying to fix the world one client, cause, and digital interaction at a time.

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