AI copyright wars

The present and the future of copyright

Luiza Jarovsky
2 min readSep 6, 2023
AI-generated image

As generative AI becomes widespread — and every tech company is adding “generative fill” functionalities to their products — copyright issues receive more and more attention.

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For those not familiar, the core questions are: given that AI models are trained using content from “the whole internet,” if I create a new piece of content using AI tools, can I own the copyright? How much human work is necessary to consider a certain creative work as deserving of intellectual property protection? For the artists, creators, or anyone who helps feed content to train those models, should there be any sort of compensation?

We are not yet one year past the beginning of this latest AI hype wave, and the lawsuits are coming in and giving us a glimpse into the current state of copyright concerns.

For example, authors Sarah Silverman, Christopher Golden, and Richard Kadrey have sued OpenAI and Meta for copyright infringement (which occurred through ChatGPT and LLaMA, respectively). In the OpenAI lawsuit, they argue that:

“The unlawful business practices described herein violate the UCL because they are unfair, immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous or injurious to consumers, because, among other reasons, Defendants used Plaintiffs’ protected works to train ChatGPT for Defendants’ own commercial profit without Plaintiffs’ and the Class’s authorization. Defendants further knowingly designed ChatGPT to output portions or summaries of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted works without attribution, and they unfairly profit from and take credit for developing a commercial product based on unattributed reproductions of those stolen writing and ideas.”

On the topic of AI and copyright, a few days ago, a US judge said that “human authorship is a bedrock requirement of copyright” and denied copyright to an AI-generated image.

Last week, Benedict Evans wrote an interesting article on the topic showing the uniqueness of the current issues involving AI and intellectual property, you can read it here.

In the same way that the internet, music streaming platforms, and other technologies changed copyright forever, it will probably be the case again with generative AI. We can expect more groundbreaking trends, controversies, and legal decisions in the next months.

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Luiza Jarovsky

CEO of Implement Privacy, LinkedIn Top Voice, Ph.D. Researcher, Author of Luiza's Newsletter, Host of Luiza's Podcast, Speaker, Latina, Polyglot & Mother of 3.