Marketing & Media trends
- 3 big issues demanding legal attention this yearJonathan Veeran, Nozipho Mngomezulu and Burton Phillips
Construction & Engineering trends
- 3 major trends in the commercial property space in AfricaPeter Hodgkinson
- A bright horizon for South Africa's energy landscapeBarry Bredenkamp
- Achieving developmental goals through constructionCyril Vuyani Gamede
CSI & Sustainability trends
- Time for NPOs to show their real impactKeri-Leigh Paschal
- 5 sustainability trends that will shape business in 2021Christelle Marais
- 4 trends set to continue or be re-interpreted in the NGO sectorInnocent Masayira
- Strengthening NPO skills and processesNazeema Mohamed, Feryal Domingo and Soraya Joonas
- Sustainability is key for social investment in 2021Keri-Leigh Paschal
- 4 trends in employee skills development and training you need to know for 2021Siphelele Kubheka and Desikan Naidoo
Energy & Mining trends
- 10 predictions around fintechDominique Collett
- The 4 themes for the new yearAndrew Duvenage,
- 3 wealth management trends to watch in 2021Maarten Ackerman
- 4 strategies to rethink investing in SMEsKuhle Mnisi
- Microinsurance ready to reach new heightsMarius Botha
- Finding alpha in the age of Covid-19Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana
- Purpose or profit. It's not a choiceMike Middleton
- Shifting towards a digital - but still human - approachHenry van Deventer
HR & Management trends
- 4 areas in which your business can practice its swivelFrancois Kriel
- 5G is coming. Here's what it could mean for SASamantha Naidoo
Logistics & Transport trends
Marketing & Media trends
- Tech democratisation will set the tone for 2021Andrew Smit and Johan Walters
- Auction industry survival depends on going virtualJoff van Reenen
- Covid-19 drives new trends in local property marketMarcél du Toit
- A bold year for beveragesAlex Glenday
- Acceleration of digital paymentsJonathan Smit
- Safety vs sustainability - the packaging industry's key conundrumNthabiseng Motsoeneng
- The evolving e-tail landscapeVilo Trska
#BizTrends2018: Copyright in the age of AI
Hollywood flirted with Artificial Intelligence (AI) long before it became mainstream, portraying it as an adversary, pitting man against machine. It is no secret though, in light of what AI actually looks and behaves like, that it got the whole narrative around AI patently wrong. What Hollywood is right about is the discourse around the rise of the machines, but outside of reel life, machines have proven to be creators rather than conquerors.
© Jakub Jirsak – 123RF.com
For the thriller film Morgan, the IBM Watson supercomputer was tasked to make the scariest movie trailer possible. In making the trailer, Watson analysed the visual and audio composition of 100 classic horror movies, to learn what is “scary”. This trailer was created by Watson using multiple sources of data, ostensibly input by multiple humans, as well as new information Watson itself created.
Hollywood may have fictionalised AI but as these examples suggest, artists and organisations are in fact leveraging AI, giving them an unprecedented form of self-expression. As the sophistication of AI continues to grow, so will the work it produces.
The law of copyright may currently be one step behind the advances in AI. Broadly speaking, copyright - governed by the Copyright Act - protects certain defined “works”, such as computer programs, films, literary, musical and artistic works. Traditionally, the creation of these works has been a strictly human endeavour. The advances in AI, however, have resulted in a paradigm shift, in that sufficiently “smart” computers can now create their own “works” with little, or even no, human involvement.
The above movie trailer and pop song were created by AI, or at least by using the input of AI which brings us to the importance of the distinction between a computer aided work and a computer generated work. The trailer is work made by a person using the computer as a tool or instrument. Southern’s work was made by a computer where it is not possible to attribute the resultant work directly to the efforts of any person causing the work to be made.
The authorship and ownership of computer-aided works raise far fewer issues than computer-generated works so, for current purposes, computer-generated works will be the focus. Computer-generated works raise some interesting questions in terms of copyright, to which there are currently no clear answers. These questions are:
Who would be the author of a work created by an AI?
Section 1, paragraph (h) of the Copyright Act, under the definition of “author”, states that “if a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or computer program is computer-generated” the author would be the person “by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work were undertaken”. This phrase is, nevertheless, somewhat problematic. Is the person “by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work were undertaken” the person who built the AI, the person who trained the AI, or the person who fed the AI specific inputs to the AI?
Who would be the owner of a work created by an AI?
In many instances, once the work has come in to existence, the authorship and ownership of copyright subsisting in it coincide. This, however, is not always the case with the exceptions being set out in section 21 of the Copyright Act. That being said, as authorship of a work created by an AI is imprecise, it follows that ownership will also be difficult to determine.
Who would be responsible if an AI creates a work that infringes on another’s copyright?
There is currently no legal framework that provides for an AI as an infringing party or even if an AI can be an infringing party. Therefore, should an AI create a work which infringes on another’s copyright, it is unclear who would be held accountable for such infringement. It may be the person “by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work were undertaken” but, amongst other issues, this “person” is very hard to accurately ascertain.
As things currently stand, we are in uncharted waters in regulating and managing AI created works, without the certainty required to address these new legal concerns. This leaves policy makers and industry partners with some serious and complex work to develop a legal framework that is both flexible and comprehensive.
Perhaps we can request Watson to do it for us.
About Brendon AmbroseBrendon Ambrose holds a BCom and an LLB (Wits) and is an associate at Spoor & Fisher specialising in trade mark enforcement.
Read more: Spoor & Fisher, Copyright Act, IP law, intellectual property law, Biz Trends, #biztrends, #biztrends2018, Artificial Intelligence technology, Biz Trends 2018