Artificial Intelligence (AI) has gathered momentum as the developments of technologies advance significantly. In terms of IP Rights, this introduction in AI has raised several issues to the preservation of creations under IP regulations. Computers have been around for a long time, but no one expected them to fall under the purview of Copyright rules since they were first developed. This is due to the fact that a machine has accomplished the work as a result of human directions. Humans were the ones who gave the computer permission to perform only a task. Moreover, computers were regarded as simple gadgets that required human interaction to execute tasks.

Copyright refers to the legal protection of creative work created by the human mind and intelligence. Further, Copyright provides moral and economic rights protection. The individual who generates the copyrightable work is referred to as the author. There are still numerous regulations designed to protect human-created work. However, when it relates to AI producing Copyright protected work, there are a variety of challenges concerning the laws that apply and the need to make revisions to current IP legislation.

AI’s arrival and its implications for Intellectual Property Law

The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) rocked the realm of intellectual property. The year 2010 was the start of AI’s massive growth and expansion. When it comes to AI-created work, it can be confidently asserted that it is on par with human excellence. Another important topic to consider here is whether current laws are capable of regulating AI’s work. This question would not be answered in the affirmative. Existing laws, particularly those relating to copyright, adequately safeguard human-created content. Not the ones that are produced by machines. The important question currently is whether or not the work of robots should be subject to copyright law’s snooping and inspection.

An analysis of various countries’ legislation:

In this section, the article aims to examine existing laws in various nations to see if they can be used to protect AI work:

  1. Japan: The copyrights of Japan declare that when there is freedom of thought or concepts or ideas which fit within the realms of literature, music, science, or the arts, they are covered by intellectual property laws. Creativity should be further defined within that context; it refers to how the author’s individuality is displayed in many ways. This is then construed in various ways, even by courts. The word “creativity” here emphasises the author’s personality. As a result, it can be deduced that only human work is given priority. There is no mention of machine creativity or artificial intelligence. As a result, there is no protection provided for machines and artificially intelligent employment within Japanese law.
  2. USA: Following Japan’s lead, the United States does not recognise or protect the creative work of artificial intelligence or machines. Congress has the authority to adopt Copyright laws under the US Constitution. As a result, the US copyright law stipulates that the US Congress has the authority to promote the advancement of science and the useful arts, but only during the author’s lifetime, and authors typically enjoy exclusive rights in this regard. As a result, AI-related creative output has had no place in US Copyright rules. Furthermore, the US courts have indicated unequivocally that the work of AI and machines will not be protected. 
  3. Germany: Germany’s copyright laws specifically indicate that only the individual’s creations are protected. As a result, the work of robots or AI is not protected under German copyright law. As a result, authorship in the context of AI technology remains unprotected within the current law. 
  4. United Kingdom: The legislation of a United Kingdom revers the general practise in many of the countries mentioned above. The author is deemed the person who made the required arrangements for the development of a literary, musical, and artistic work when it is produced by a computer, as according to Section 9 of the Copyright, Design, and Patent Act, 1988.
  5. India: “Copyright” is defined as the owner’s exclusive rights to do or authorise the doing of any acts (such as reproduction, publication, adaptation, and translation) in relation to work within Section 14 of Copyright Act 1957. Furthermore, Section 17 of the Act stipulates that the original Copyright holder is indeed the original author. The Copyright holder is the employer if the work is made within an agreement for payment and on the employer’s instructions. In addition, the author is defined as follows in Section 2(d) of the Copyright Act 1957:

author” means:

  • in relation to a literary or dramatic work, the author of the work;
  • in relation to a musical work, the composer;
  • in relation to an artistic work other than a photograph, the artist;
  • in relation to a photograph, the person taking a photograph;
  • in relation to a cinematograph film or sound recording, the producer; and
  • in relation to any literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, the person who causes the work to be created.

In Rupendra Kashyap Vs. Jiwan Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., the Honorable Court ruled that the author of an exam paper is a person who has gathered the questions; the individual who does this compiling is a human being and not an artificial individual; the Central Board of Secondary Education is not a natural individual, and it would only be permitted to seek authorship in the examination papers if it established that it was a natural person{Navigators Logistics Ltd. vs Kashif Qureshi & Ors. (CS (COMM) 735/2016)}. In other cases, courts have held that a juristic person is incapable of being the creator of any work containing copyright {Tech Plus Media Private Ltd. Vs. Jyoti Janda, (2014) 60 PTC 121;.}. It is also clarified by the Copyright Office’s Practice and Procedure Manual (2018), which stipulates that only natural person information as the author of the work should be submitted for Copyright purposes. 

The author’s criterion is a natural person is based on courts’ findings in several nations when deciding copyright in work. Here are a few examples:

Complicated aspects for recognising AI as a copyrighted author

To properly analyse the difficulties associated with recognising AI as a creator’s work, we must first determine whether Indian Copyright Legislation is capable of acknowledging AI as a work’s author. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios to see how AI and present Copyright rules interact:

  1. The creator of the work is acknowledged as the work’s original author under Section 17 of the Copyright Act of 1957. Although, in other cases, the ownership rights are transferred to the employer or the person on whose behalf the work is generated through an agreement. Consequently, in the context of AI, ownership transfer will be difficult to demonstrate because the AI cannot execute or permit its creator or anyone else to become the author of such creation. 
  2. The author’s unique rights may also be contested under Section 57. Right to paternity (right to be associated and acknowledged with the work) and right to integrity (right to restrain or claim damages against any act that may be harmful to the creator’s dignity as well as reputation) are two of the author’s special privileges, known as ethical rights. As a result, if an AI is acknowledged as the author of creation, such privileges could remain obsolete, as AI might not be able to determine if any conduct has harmed the actual work’s honour or reputation. Ethical rights are those that have more emotional and human feelings associated with the job and hence may not be ideal for AI implementation.
  3. The author of the work has a right to royalty that cannot be renounced under India’s present copyright laws. Suppose the AI is the creator of the work. In that case, the issue is towards who shall establish the royalties, how would the royalty be distributed to AI, and if the amount must be chosen on the basis of reasonableness arises.
  4. It will be challenging to hold AI accountable for whatever work it produces. For instance, if any AI-created work is libellous, obscene, or harmful to public morale, there is no recourse over AI other than to remove the content from the public domain or to shut down the AI. However, such a harmful AI task may do more significant harm, and without any accountability to monitor AI’s work, accepting authoring for support of AI will indeed be challenging.

Conclusion and Suggestions: The Copyright Act of 1957 explicitly outlines an author as a person. Until AI is granted a lawful validity to such an extent, the presence of AI copyrights could be questioned. Alternatively, the Copyright Act might be amended also to include AI-related creations like a new classification, and AI could be recognised as an author. Given the increase of technologies and the effectiveness of AI, granting credit to AI is not a bad notion. On the other hand, the Copyright Act will be necessary to recognise AI as a distinct entity or classify AI-generated work as a distinct type of work. As time passes, the development of AI-related creations becomes more prevalent; consequently, it is critical to establish and recognise the privileges and restrictions of AI-created works.

Disclaimer: The present article intends to provide general guidance on the subject, and you can also consult us in your specific case.