Virtual Reality

Blending the Real World with Copying

Authored by: Kenneth N. Swezey , Elizabeth Altman

The Routledge Companion to Copyright and Creativity in the 21st Century

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138999251
eBook ISBN: 9781315658445
Adobe ISBN:


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Artificial intelligence technology may well be the next era-shifting technology, poised to enter virtually every aspect of life, from the music on our stereos to the art on our walls. The algorithmic capacities of increasingly capable and autonomous AI have grown to include writing novellas, creating a “Rembrandt” painting on a computer, medical diagnostics, lawyering, psychoanalysis, and investing. This essay explores the growing field of AI technology and how copyright law will embrace AI in terms of authorship, as artificial neural networks grow increasingly capable of generating creative works with minimal input, via processes that sometimes confound even their own programmers. Will courts ultimately deem AI-generated works as works made for hire, derivative, or authored by the system’s user, programmer, or even the AI itself? Although the issues are complex, this essay argues that the copyright law regime was designed to be flexible and adaptive. As AI technology settles into a common language and widespread application, there is every indication that copyright law will, once again, do what it does best, carving a niche for the technology within existing law and even defining our conception of AI itself.

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