Intellectual Property Protection in Today’s AI Er
By Jason Preciphs, Esq.
Protecting intellectual property (IP) such as a company’s trade secrets, trademarks, patents, and copyrights is smart business. Many companies’ significant assets are comprised of IP, which is considered an intangible asset that often adds significant commercial value. Proper legal protection is necessary before issues of infringement, copying and misappropriation arise.
What happens with IP protection in today’s world where artificial intelligence abounds and just about everything is instantly shared online? AI platforms scour the internet in response to a user’s query in order to crowdsource and generate information. This data is sourced from IP that belongs to an individual or entity. If your work is published and accessible online, the concern arises: what can stop a generative AI platform like ChatGPT from copying your property and serving it up to its users to represent as their own?
AI has, indeed, muddied the legal waters of digital rights management. Methods used to prevent unauthorized use of your photo, trademarked image, e-book, software, website wording, report, data, or other information that can be easily found online are now being challenged by the nature of AI technology itself. AI has even entered entirely new territory whereby human voices and video can be captured, manipulated, edited and used without actually being created by the humans whose voices or recordings have been copied.
Courts are wrestling with the application of existing IP laws to AI. In April, the United States Supreme Court rejected an argument by a computer scientist seeking legal patents for two “inventions” that his artificial intelligence system created without any input from him. The ruling stated that a patent can only be issued to a human inventor.
Meanwhile, two of the most popular AI art tools are defending lawsuits that allege their platforms have infringed on millions of artists by enabling their systems to capture web-scraped images. And the 2023 Grammy Awards rules were recently updated to deem songs that are generated entirely by artificial intelligence ineligible for a Grammy Award. RCFP will continue to monitor AI with great interest as these and other cases raise questions about IP ownership, rights and legal usage of AI-generated works.
Source: Harvard Business Review