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Thorny AI ownership questions have Copyright Office seeking public input

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On Wednesday, the US Copyright Office began seeking public comment on issues surrounding generative AI systems and copyright. The public comment period, which starts on August 30, aims to explore the complex intersection of AI technology with copyright laws, and it closes on November 15. The comments could inform how the agency decides to grant copyrights in the future.

Outlined in a 24-page document published as a PDF file by the Federal Register, the “Notice of inquiry and request for comments” asks questions with far-reaching consequences for intellectual property in America.

Specifically, the Office is interested in four main areas: the use of copyrighted materials to train AI models and whether this constitutes infringement; the extent to which AI-generated content should or could be copyrighted, particularly when a human has exercised some degree of control over the AI model’s operations; how liability should be applied if AI-generated content infringes on existing copyrights; and the impact of AI mimicking voices or styles of human artists, which, while not strictly copyright issues, may engage state laws related to publicity rights and unfair competition.

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