Copyright for Literate Robots
25 Pages Posted: 17 May 2015 Last revised: 15 Mar 2016
Date Written: May 15, 2015
Almost by accident, copyright has concluded that copyright law is for humans only: reading performed by computers doesn't count as infringement. Conceptually, this makes sense: copyright's ideal of romantic readership involves humans writing for other humans. But in an age when more and more manipulation of copyrighted works is carried out by automated processes, this split between human reading (infringement) and robotic reading (exempt) has odd consequences and creates its own tendencies toward a copyright system in which humans occupy a surprisingly peripheral place. This essay describes the shifts in fair use law that brought us here and reflects on the role of robots in copyright's cosmology.
Keywords: copyright, robots, artificial intelligence
JEL Classification: K00
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