Teaching robots copyright: CREATe Industry Fellow Emma Barraclough writes for World IP Review

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World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) blog post by CREATe Industry Fellow Emma Barraclough. Image by Vaida Andrei / Shutterstock.com.

CREATe Industry Fellow, Emma Barraclough wrote for World IP Review last month on work by CREATe researchers into artificial intelligence and copyright.

She discussed research being conducted by members of CREATe at the University of Edinburgh into the way in which AI and copyright law may co-exist in the future, and the challenges posed by interaction between the two.

The article focused on research led by Burkhard Schafer on the way in which the law should deal with robots that become co-creators.

The use of robots offers plenty of new business models that have the potential to cut costs and deliver results more quickly. Robots are being tested to write news reports and books from raw data, for example, cutting out the journalistic middleman. But whatever form these technological breakthroughs take, it is vital to “teach robots copyright from copy wrong”, argue Schafer and his colleagues.

In a lawyer’s ideal world, robots will access only data they are allowed to access, use it only in legally permissible ways, and ensure that the economic benefits of new works they create accrue to their owners.

But how can this be achieved? Schafer argues in favour of a form of digital rights management (DRM) system to prevent robots accessing material for which they have no licence.

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