Country singers, romance novelists, video game artists, and voice actors are urging the U.S. government to take action against the threat of artificial intelligence (AI) to their livelihoods. They fear that AI technology could replicate their work, resulting in job losses and income reduction.
On the other hand, technology companies are satisfied with the current situation, as it enables them to enhance their AI systems through the utilization of published materials.
The U.S. Copyright Office, led by Shira Perlmutter, is currently deliberating whether copyright reforms are necessary to address the emergence of AI tools capable of generating creative content. So far, the office has received almost 10,000 comments from various stakeholders. Perlmutter reassured that all comments are being read by humans.
The office is also grappling with the query of whether AI-generated works can be protected under existing copyright laws, given genuine human involvement in the creative process.
Additionally, the Copyright Office is addressing concerns over copyrighted human works being used without permission or compensation to train AI systems. This issue has prompted substantial unease among creative professionals. The office intends to provide guidance to Congress and other entities regarding the necessity for reforms.
Well-known individuals and industry professionals, such as actor Justine Bateman and television showrunner Lilla Zuckerman, have expressed apprehension about the potential impact of AI on the film and entertainment industry. The music industry shares similar worries concerning AI's capabilities and its consequent effects on the art form.Leading tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI are currently engaged in a dispute, arguing that their AI models' training falls within the boundaries of the "fair use" doctrine. This doctrine allows for limited use of copyrighted material for purposes such as research, teaching, or transforming the work into something new. Their assertion is that AI training focuses on identifying patterns across a diverse range of content, rather than extracting or reproducing individual works. Tech companies find support in courts that have generally sided with their interpretation of copyright laws concerning AI systems. To bolster their position, these companies often cite Google's defense against legal challenges to its online book library as a legal precedent.
However, not all critics share the same viewpoint. They contend that comparing the AI developers' practices to Google's case is flawed. This discrepancy is due to the fact that Google legally acquired copies of books from libraries and institutions, whereas many AI developers acquire works through piracy. The legitimacy of their methods raises concerns among those skeptical of the current approach employed by tech companies in the AI industry.
In light of these arguments, the Copyright Office has taken action to address the ongoing debates and uncertainties surrounding this matter. Their intention is to bring much-needed clarity to the intricacies involved in the intersection of AI training, copyright laws, and the fair use doctrine. By doing so, the Copyright Office aims to provide a framework that balances the interests of tech companies, copyright holders, and society as a whole.