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Sept 21 -- Comment period extended to October 30, 2023. https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-20480

Aug 30 -- The United States Copyright Office is undertaking a study of the copyright law and policy issues raised by artificial intelligence (“AI”) systems. To inform the Office's study and help assess whether legislative or regulatory steps in this area are warranted, the Office seeks comment on these issues, including those involved in the use of copyrighted works to train AI models, the appropriate levels of transparency and disclosure with respect to the use of copyrighted works, and the legal status of AI-generated outputs.

Written comments are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. Written reply comments are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.

Over the last year, artificial intelligence (“AI”) systems and the rapid growth of their capabilities have attracted significant media and public attention. One type of AI, “generative AI” technology, is capable of producing outputs such as text, images, video, or audio (including emulating a human voice) that would be considered copyrightable if created by a human author. The adoption and use of generative AI systems by millions of Americans —and the resulting volume of AI-generated material—have sparked widespread public debate about what these systems may mean for the future of creative industries and raise significant questions for the copyright system.

Some of these questions relate to the scope and level of human authorship, if any, in copyright claims for material produced in whole or in part by generative AI. Over the past several years, the Office has begun to receive applications to register works containing AI-generated material, some of which name AI systems as an author or co-author. At the same time, copyright owners have brought infringement claims against AI companies based on the training process for, and outputs derived from, generative AI systems. As concerns and uncertainties mount, Congress and the Copyright Office have been contacted by many stakeholders with diverse views. The Office has publicly announced a broad initiative earlier this year to explore these issues. This Notice is part of that initiative and builds on the Office's research, expertise, and prior work, as well as information that stakeholders have provided to the Office. . . .
In response to growing Congressional and public interest, the Office launched a comprehensive AI Initiative in early 2023. The Initiative identified a number of steps that the Office would take to further explore the copyright policy questions surrounding AI, including hosting public listening sessions and publishing a notice of inquiry. At the same time, the Office created a website, http://www.copyright.gov/ai, to provide information about the Initiative, including planned events and opportunities for public engagement. . . .
Drawing on our prior AI Initiative work, including discussions with stakeholders, the Office has identified a wide range of copyright policy issues arising from the development and use of AI. These relate to: (1) the use of copyrighted works to train AI models; (2) the copyrightability of material generated using AI systems; (3) potential liability for infringing works generated using AI systems; and (4) the treatment of generative AI outputs that imitate the identity or style of human artists. The Office seeks public comments on these and related issues.  
As to the first issue, the Office is aware that there is disagreement about whether or when the use of copyrighted works to develop datasets for training AI models (in both generative and non-generative systems) is infringing. This Notice seeks information about the collection and curation of AI datasets, how those datasets are used to train AI models, the sources of materials ingested into training, and whether permission by and/or compensation for copyright owners is or should be required when their works are included. To the extent that commenters believe such permission and/or compensation is necessary, the Office seeks their views on what kind of remuneration system(s) might be feasible and effective. The Office also seeks information regarding the retention of records necessary to identify underlying training materials and the availability of this information to copyright owners and others.

On the second issue, the Office seeks comment on the proper scope of copyright protection for material created using generative AI. Although we believe the law is clear that copyright protection in the United States is limited to works of human authorship, questions remain about where and how to draw the line between human creation and AI-generated content. For example, are there circumstances where a human's use of a generative AI system could involve sufficient control over the technology, such as through the selection of training materials and multiple iterations of instructions (“prompts”), to result in output that is human-authored? Resolution of this question will affect future registration decisions. While the Office is separately working to update its registration guidance on works that include AI-generated material, this Notice explores the broader policy questions related to copyrightability.

On the third question, the Office is interested in how copyright liability principles could apply to material created by generative AI systems. For example, if an output is found to be substantially similar to a copyrighted work that was part of the training dataset, and the use does not qualify as fair, how should liability be apportioned between the user whose instructions prompted the output and developers of the system and dataset?

Lastly, in both our listening sessions and other outreach, the Office heard from artists and performers concerned about generative AI systems' ability to mimic their voices, likenesses, or styles. Although these personal attributes are not generally protected by copyright law, their copying may implicate varying state rights of publicity and unfair competition law, as well as have relevance to various international treaty obligations. . . .

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-18624 [8 pages]

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