Generating Rembrandt: Artificial Intelligence, Copyright, and Accountability in the 3A Era — The Human-Like Authors Are Already Here — A New Model

68 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2017 Last revised: 27 Dec 2018

See all articles by Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid

Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid

Yale Law School; ONO Academic College; Yale University - Information Society Project; Fordham University, School of Law

Date Written: April 24, 2017


Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are creative, unpredictable, independent, autonomous, rational, evolving, capable of data collection, communicative, efficient, accurate, and have free choice among alternatives. Similar to humans, AI systems can autonomously create and generate creative works. The use of AI systems in the production of works, either for personal or manufacturing purposes, has become common in the 3A era of automated, autonomous, and advanced technology. Despite this progress, there is a deep and common concern in modern society that AI technology will become uncontrollable. There is therefore a call for social and legal tools for controlling AI systems’ functions and outcomes.

This Article addresses the questions of the copyrightability of artworks generated by AI systems: ownership and accountability. The Article debates who should enjoy the benefits of copyright protection and who should be responsible for the infringement of rights and damages caused by AI systems that independently produce creative works. Subsequently, this Article presents the AI "Multi-Player" paradigm, arguing against the imposition of these rights and responsibilities on the AI systems themselves or on the different stakeholders, mainly the programmers who develop such systems.

Most importantly, this Article proposes the adoption of a new model of accountability for works generated by AI systems: the AI Work Made for Hire (WMFH) model, which views the AI system as a creative employee or independent contractor of the user. Under this proposed model, ownership, control, and responsibility would be imposed on the humans or legal entities that use AI systems and enjoy its benefits. This model accurately reflects the human-like features of AI systems; it is justified by the theories behind copyright protection; and it serves as a practical solution to assuage the fears behind AI systems. In addition, this model unveils the powers behind the operation of AI systems; hence, it efficiently imposes accountability on clearly identifiable persons or legal entities. Since AI systems are copyrightable algorithms, this Article reflects on the accountability for AI systems in other legal regimes, such as tort or criminal law and in various industries using these systems.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Copyright, Accountability, Workers, Work Made For Hire, Robots

Suggested Citation

Yanisky-Ravid, Shlomit, Generating Rembrandt: Artificial Intelligence, Copyright, and Accountability in the 3A Era — The Human-Like Authors Are Already Here — A New Model (April 24, 2017). Michigan State Law Review, Award Winning: The 2017 Visionary Article in Intellectual Property Law, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid (Contact Author)

Yale Law School ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

ONO Academic College ( email )

Tzahal Street 104
Kiryat Ono, 55000

Yale University - Information Society Project ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Fordham University, School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics