Coding Creativity: Copyright and the Artificially Intelligent Author

28 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2011 Last revised: 15 Apr 2014

See all articles by Annemarie Bridy

Annemarie Bridy

Google LLC; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project; Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society

Date Written: July 18, 2011


For more than a quarter century, interest among copyright scholars in the question of AI authorship has waxed and waned as the popular conversation about AI has oscillated between exaggerated predictions for its future and premature pronouncements of its death. For policymakers, the issue has sat on the horizon, always within view but never actually pressing. To recognize this fact, however, is not to say that we can or should ignore the challenge that AI authorship presents to copyright law’s underlying assumptions about creativity. On the contrary, the relatively slow development of AI offers a reprieve from the reactive, crisis-driven model of policymaking that has dominated copyright law in the digital era.

By engaging and extending insights from two relatively discrete lines of existing scholarship - the postmodern critique of romantic authorship and the more pragmatic literature on copyright in works produced with the aid of computers - this Article seeks to answer the vexing copyright questions that arise from the artificially intelligent production of cultural works. It does so by developing the argument that all creativity is inherently algorithmic and that works produced autonomously by computers are therefore less heterogeneous to both their human counterparts and the current structure of copyright law than appearances may at first suggest.

Keywords: copyright, artificial intelligence, AI, creativity, authorship, author, work made for hire, computer generated, procedural content generation, generative art, Oulipo, psychography, Feist, originality

JEL Classification: K11, K30, K39, O30, O31, O32, O33, O34, O35

Suggested Citation

Bridy, Annemarie, Coding Creativity: Copyright and the Artificially Intelligent Author (July 18, 2011). Stanford Technology Law Review, Vol. 5, pp. 1-28 (Spring 2012)., U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-25, Available at SSRN:

Annemarie Bridy (Contact Author)

Google LLC ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project

New Haven, CT
United States


Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society

Palo Alto, CA
United States


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