From Leonardo to the Next Rembrandt – The Need for AI-Pessimism in the Age of Algorithms

26 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2020

See all articles by Péter Mezei

Péter Mezei

Institute of Comparative Law and Legal Theory

Date Written: May 4, 2020


Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a part of our daily life, and “algorithmic creativity” has similarly gained a spotlight recently. From paintings to music, machines generate outputs that seem to comply with various prerequisites of copyright protection. The idea (and to some degree the need) to honor such achievements by legal protection has also emerged. This article demonstrates that contrary to the view of the proponents of an AI-copyright regime, time has not ripened for AI-copyright. The core elements of copyright law – namely the concept of authorship, originality and moral rights, as well as copyright’s history and incentives – are deeply rooted in an anthropocentric (although not only author-centric) world. Unless paradigm shift in copyright law, the lack of direkt human element of an AI-generated output shall lead to the unavailability of copyright protection for these outputs. The article similarly highlights why the proposed alternative forms of copyright related rights or sui generis protection are doctrinally unfounded or practically unfit to provide for a sound solution that does not destroy the existing copyright regime and diminish the value of human creations.

Keywords: Copyright Law, Artificial Intelligence, Emergent Works, Computer-Generated Outputs, Originality, Authorship, Moral Rights, Incentives, Copyright History, Sui Generis Regime, Related Rights

JEL Classification: L00, K10, K11, K19, K33, K39, O30, O33, O34

Suggested Citation

Mezei, Péter, From Leonardo to the Next Rembrandt – The Need for AI-Pessimism in the Age of Algorithms (May 4, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Péter Mezei (Contact Author)

Institute of Comparative Law and Legal Theory ( email )

Bocskai u. 10-12.
Szeged, H-6721
+36-62-546-735 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics