Will Robots Rule the (Artistic) World? A Proposed Model for the Legal Status of Creations by Artificial Intelligence Systems

20 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2017

Date Written: June 13, 2017


While currently artificial intelligence (AI) is not completely independent from human input, the speed and direction of technology development seem to anticipate a not-so-distant future where it will be. From a copyright perspective, this scenario challenges traditional conceptions, notably that of authorship.

In many jurisdictions, authorship seems to be somewhat connected to the conditions for protection, which might imply that, absent a human author, a work will not be original and therefore not copyrightable. This may leave many works that would otherwise be copyrightable without protection, thereby causing legal uncertainty; but it also raises questions about whether protection should at all be available, and about whether copyright is fit for purpose in face of technological progress in the area of AIS.

The first part of this paper focuses on whether the current copyright framework can accommodate AIS as creators for purposes of copyright protection. To that end, I examine and compare requirements of authorship in Europe, the US and Australia. I then analyse current legal constructions that could accommodate non-human authorship, such as the specific regime of computer-generated works existent in some common law jurisdictions.

The second part of the paper enquires whether copyright should protect AIs as creators. To answer that question, I look into the different rationales of copyright protection.

Building on the data from the previous parts, I propose a model for the legal regime of AIs’ creations.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, copyright, intellectual property, robots, computational creativity, authorship, public domain

Suggested Citation

Ramalho, Ana, Will Robots Rule the (Artistic) World? A Proposed Model for the Legal Status of Creations by Artificial Intelligence Systems (June 13, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2987757 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2987757

Ana Ramalho (Contact Author)

Leiden University ( email )

P.O. Box 9520
2300 RA Leiden, NL-2300RA

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