Artificial intelligence is quickly propagating across all industries. With these technological advances comes the requirement that businesses refocus their intellectual property strategies to accommodate these changes. While the situation is not quite as dire as that depicted in Blade Runner’s dystopian future where bioengineered humans are running about, the futuristic world of AI is here. Indeed, Aiva is an artificially intelligent music generator capable of composing emotional soundtracks for films, video games, commercials, and the like who learned the art of music composition by reading through works created by Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and other great composers. Aiva, in addition to other AIs, will likely generate millions of original works. However, the current United States legal regime does not provide clear protection for works created by a computer.
The Intellectual Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution expressly aims “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Thus, this idea of encouraging the production of creative works by incentivizing authors is embedded in our nation’s legal framework. The issue then becomes to whom inventorship can be attributed when it is in fact a computer doing the creating, filming, and ordering of literary, audio, and visual content. One option is to place the works created without human input in the public domain, allowing all to benefit therefrom. Another option includes crediting ownership to those who are most responsible for the arrangements that led to the output by the AI. This latter option would mimic the Copyright, Designs, and Patent Act in the UK which explicitly recognizes computer generated work as copyright protectable and interprets the statute to provide rights to the person who made the arrangements necessary for the work to be produced. It remains clear that the U.S. will need to evolve its IP laws to clarify the position of AI in its regime.