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Fingers type on a keyboard while 1s and 0s float around a blue background; text reads: Copyright and Artificial Intelligence Listening Sessions

#ICYMI: The Copyright Office Hears from Stakeholders on Important Issues with AI and Copyright

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Over the past two months, the Copyright Office hosted four public, virtual listening sessions on the use of artificial intelligence to generate creative works. The listening sessions focused on literary works, including print journalism and software; visual arts; audiovisual works, including video games; and music and sound recordings. Artists, creators, AI developers, researchers, lawyers, academics, and more shared their goals, concerns, and experiences related to the use and impact of generative AI.

As we look back on four vibrant sessions, we wanted to share some highlights for those who were not able to join live.

Register of Copyrights Shira Perlmutter opened the first listening session, on literary works, with a set of guiding questions for all four sessions: “How does current law apply? Should it be changed? [H]ow will the copyright community, from creators to users, be impacted?” She also reminded the audience that the Copyright Office plays a role “both in addressing practical concerns and in advising on policy.”

Following Register Perlmutter’s introductory remarks, participants spoke on two consecutive panels in which they articulated a wide-ranging set of perspectives.

The remaining listening sessions followed a similar format, and some included additional opportunities for comments without further discussion. Copyright Office staff moderated the listening sessions, and Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs Maria Strong and General Counsel and Associate Register of Copyrights Suzy Wilson each made remarks.

At the final listening session, Register Perlmutter observed some of the themes of the series, including that

  • there is disagreement about whether, or under what circumstances, training generative AI on copyrighted works could be considered fair use;
  • there is considerable interest in developing methods to enhance transparency and education regarding how generative AI produces works, including the possibility of tracking relationships between ingested works and outputs, and understanding how assistive AI is used as a tool in the creation process; and
  • many stakeholders still have questions about the Office’s registration guidance for works containing AI-generated material and would like more details and more examples of how the Office will approach applications for such works.

Throughout all four listening sessions, the Office heard from a broad and diverse group of stakeholders, experts, and creatives, including some who do not typically participate in Office roundtables. Among the speakers were a professor of computer and information science; several Academy Award-nominated artists; attorneys for major private actors, including tech companies and music streaming platforms; representatives from various unions, guilds, and trade groups; and independent visual artists, filmmakers, and composers.

The listening sessions broke registration and attendance records for Copyright Office events. Over 4,100 people tuned in over the course of the four sessions. In her final remarks, Register Perlmutter thanked all the panelists for sharing their insights and the public for tuning in. “The Office appreciates the high level of public engagement with these listening sessions,” said Register Perlmutter. “This interest is of course a reflection of the astonishing potential of artificial intelligence, and the impact that its already having in our lives and on society as a whole.”

The feedback and comments provided to the Office during the listening sessions will help guide the next steps in the Office’s AI initiative. The Office is drafting a notice of inquiry, to be published in the Federal Register later this summer, which will solicit written comments from the public on a wide range of issues involving AI and copyright. Issues raised during the sessions will directly inform the questions asked in the notice.

If you missed the listening sessions initially, or want to listen back again, you can review all the materials from each of the sessions on our website, including the agenda, transcript, and full video recording.

Follow for updates, events, and to sign up for email notifications, including to learn when the notice of inquiry is published, on our website.

Comments (11)

  1. AI is the death of creativity. BEWARE CREATORS LIKE ME. Where are the sculptors, painter, film makers, dancers, designers, etc.
    Our future is at stake, take a stand against AI in the creatives. Thanks, jbr

  2. I followed the full length of all three Copyright & Artificial Intelligence Session, which I believe were instructive, inclusive, and extremely important. With certainty I share here two points: (1) that the copyright office, or the government in general, should refrain from asking to disclose “how much contribution” did the author provide generative AI for the formulation of the AI output, because this type of question is dangerously close to the government judging what is to be considered artistic or creative in nature. Also, (2) when AI is used as a tool, similarly to multiple layers on Photoshop, or a software instrument on Logic, it is the ultimate tool for a creator, enhancing her/his vision with virtually instant and infinite options, expanding the creative process of the creative (human) individual. AI will only “kill” the ability of creators to capitalize and survive with their creativity if we (humans) decide to do that.

  3. “Creative” AI systems and Machine Learning have a deleterious effect on authorship!

    The ‘purpose’ of such systems is to mimic authors and replace them with a ‘commercial vending machine!’ This can’t be an acceptable copyright exception under Berne Convension Article 10 “…to the extent justified by the purpose”.

    It’s NOT a justified purpose of any copyright exception such as fair practice to allow copyrighted works to be used to create a commercial vending machine that’s purpose is to replace human authorship and effectively end copyright law!

  4. Generative AI that relies on hundreds of millions of inputs to be algorithmically fitted, are inherently parasitic in nature.

    They can output hundreds of thousands of images per hour, quickly dwarfing the datasets they relied on, and do not require any human intervention once finetuned.

    They kill knowledge simply by being disconnected with the processes that created the original imagery in the first place, and incentivizing businesses to abandon conventional methodologies.

    You do not have to understand what film grain or bokeh is, you don’t have to know what field of view contributes. You don’t have to know how the original artists expertly adjusted lighting in their 3d Octane render scenes, or their real life studios. Or why an artist would use that spesific colour while rendering a sunflower. In fact there is very little reason at all to invest time and effort to learn all these things, because the machine will do it for you.

    So we either end with a closed Internet where everyone is protective of their human creativity lest it is consumed and emulated by a machine whose only value is through theft, or we kill 90% of creative fields that deal with imagery. And 10 years down the line when a lot of knowledge is lost, we realize the machines cannot make anything on their own, but nobody wants to pay for the R&D and human labour to create originality that can instantly be emulated and consumed by competing companies.

  5. We need a complete, total ban on Generative AI without exception. AI companies and AI users have already shown their hand and do not deserve the time of day entertaining their idea of the new form of cultural genocide they have begun inflicting onto the rest of the world. Treat Generative AI as a crime against humanity.

    Never grant or provide (c) exception to AI training. Instead, treat AI training as felony theft.

    Never grant or provide AI outputs (c) protection. Doing so undermines the entire purpose of copyright, which is designed to protect HUMAN creators. A person developing or using AI is not a creator, but a thief plagiarizing the works of other people. Instead, treat AI output as felony forgery and felony impersonation.

    If these things are not taken into account, there won’t be a Copyright Office in the future, because creatives will simply stop making things out of fear that their work will be stolen and weaponized against them. With less artists, poets, writers, musicians, all because of AI, how can anyone look at this situation and not consider Generative AI as a form of cultural genocide? Machines that emulate humans are inherently unethical and should be banned entirely, so the Copyright Office must stand up for human rights and human dignity.

  6. Thanks for the update, many other things are going around with social media platforming agenda with AI copyright issues.

    That I am a victim of this situation, with my creative work, on every social media platform, with this piece of information, it will guard me through those people that are using my creative work and literatures, without equal distribution of the revenue collected, for such a creative work done by the individual.

    Example of a complaint: DARKCALL SEAGLEH COMMUNITY LIHDO, Creativities from FOEI GEORGE MORKAI DORTU: Facebook Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube social media sites are going to Cyclopedia and adding these URL to their platform which is very incriminating, with out the knowledge of the individual who produce the work, and they’re saying to you, your work has been Protected.

    And exhibiting it in different regions in the world, and benefiting from my work including google.

    But these issues would be addressed, when the appropriate time riches, for those social media institutions, that are using my work and others individuals organic wisdom of creativities, without equal share of the pie!

    Thanks again our angels, may the almighty God bless you all! at AI copyrights department of creativities.

    Business engagement platform of acknowledgment!

    Very truly yours,

    LIHDOFOEI: George Morkai Dortu

  7. Debates about A.I. replacing humans ease when we replace the A.I. label. The US Copyright Office could lead. The term ‘machine-aggregated content’ is more accurate. That term is closer to how ‘clip art’ was similarly used years ago. Clip art described graphics people collected to create new art. Our former indication equating ‘intelligence’ to what is machine-harvested data credits the compiling machines and software too much for machine-spun output that retools data to its version of perfection after it’s taken from creative hands and minds of humans. True intelligence peaks from massive quantum sensory points that humans process. A mechanical compiler arranging word, video, or image clips, cannot replace the infinite complexities synthesized from human senses. The A.I. term should firmly be replaced legally and named ‘machine-aggregated content.’ If humans reject chipped content in favor of their own imaginations and the joy of imperfect earthly spontaneity, the content theft for digital thought regurgitation might fizzle to diminished value due to its own boring nature. Robo fake output is too cheerful and perfected anyway with human spontaneity removed.

  8. I think of generative art as a new and exciting form of expression that can and should be explored by anyone, regardless of any experience or skill level.

    Generative art allows more people to communicate with others in ways they couldn’t before, to inspire and be inspired by others. The stuff people post online isn’t just a matter of pressing a button and getting a random result. It requires creativity, curiosity, experimentation, and refinement. It also requires learning how to use and develop new skills some may not have had before to effectively use new tools that are rapidly evolving and improving to express themselves. Generative art is not a passive process, but an active one, where human artists get a chance to create something unique and meaningful.

    I believe that generative art, warts and all, is a vital new form of art that is shaking things up, challenging preconceptions, and getting people angry – just like art should.

  9. For A.I. it is a type of thing that can work as a tool for specific task, however it should not have the power too create things that others will implement a copywrite on. In specifics it should never be aknowledged as a creator or a type of thing that can produce a instant copywrite, due too various sources of finished works it takes from that is traceable and at times makers stamps being mixed into pieces.

    A common occurrence is that a lot of sorces that are fed into A.I. are from common websites ((example: google, Instagram, and Deviantart. Which all are not free use websites)) or artist have had their work stripped and re-used with their name, works, and without consent, payment, and their artistic likeness used for specific types of marketing and products. With deliberate attentions of rideing on their artist integrity. Plus a breech in artist who have recently passed away are vonurable regardless of any laws that give time frames before their art hits as free use time frame.

    The effects of programs being able to rip apart intellectual properties, lively hoods, time, and what is a deep personal buisness arrangements. It has already depleted a lot of artist/creative morally, artist work, and these types of specific jobs are extremely dependant on mass exposure and creating relations. Because sites can not provide any protections over art being ripped off, and in the same breath these types of artistians need too be seen for chances of employment or a type of portfolio. Even with a private website, the mass public is more likely too not come across a individual artist page unless it was linked from one that has mass traffic already established.

    A consideration; An A.I. developer has the right too protect their code, however the product shouldn’t be seen as a copywrite holder but something that is a equivalent of a search engine, picture generator.

  10. I want to copyright my journalistic work on social media, especially my videos

    • Thank you for your comment. Please contact the Public Information Office for assistance by email at [email protected] or by phone at (877) 476–0778.

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