University of Nottingham Commercial Law Centre

UNCLC Seminar Series - Artificial intelligence and EU copyright law: a net of authorship claims

hybrid event - online and in person, Room C15 Monica Partridge Building
Wednesday 19th October 2022 (15:00-16:00)

In person or via MS Teams.   

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Artificial intelligence and EU copyright law: a net of authorship claims

Speaker: Dr Alina Trapova

Chair: Professor Estelle Derclaye

This work analyses EU copyright authorship through the lenses of machine learning (ML). More specifically, it studies the problem of allocating authorship claims in the creative output of a ML process. The substantive dimension of this research analyses whether EU copyright law protects ML-generated works, while the normative question turns to whether EU copyright law should protect ML-generated works.

While the substantive question has been addressed by many scholars, their focus has generally lied on the theoretical justifications for copyright law. The main and mostly shared view is that copyright does not subsist in ML-generated works due to the absence of an author whose free and creative choices are evident in the creative process and product. The added value of this work, which brings it beyond the state of the art, is that it dissects thoroughly the technology behind ML-generated art in the field of computational creativity. Thanks to this technical analysis, this work maps authorship claims in the ML process. In that sense, it provides new evidence to support the main argument that copyright law does not protect ML-generated works due to the absence of an originality causation.

The normative dimension centres upon the EU legislative competences in the field of copyright law. The flexible internal market goal has taken the lead in EU copyright law-making. This may once again serve as a convenient legal basis to push the EU legislative agenda towards protection of ML-generated works with copyright law. This research advocates for a cautious evidence-based approach to be adopted by the EU legislator, which puts at the centre stage the balanced internal market, guided by procedural safeguards such as public consultations and impact assessments, but also the subsidiarity and proportionality principles. The internal market narrative should not be manipulated to the extent that copyright protection expands to cover works where the human author is too detached from the creative process.

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