Friday, September 22, 2023

“Technology advances faster than the law”: the legal challenges of Artificial Intelligence and intellectual property

That artificial intelligence is increasingly present in our lives is nothing new. AI tools are here to stay, generating a total transformation of how we carry out our activities both in the workplace and personally, from health to business. The expansion of the use of these tools and their accessibility to society in general has also presented challenges to regulate their misuse.

In this sense, in recent weeks, we have been able to witness how AI threatened the foundations of intellectual property and copyright. The American writer, Jane Friedman, denounced on social networks and on her own blog that Amazon had put up to half a dozen books for sale in her name that were not hers, but had been produced by artificial intelligence. Publishing content for more than a decade, the AI ​​had a large amount of information at its disposal to replicate both the theme and the writing style of the American.

Something similar has happened in the music industry. In mid-April, TikTok user @Ghostwriter977 (now deleted) posted a Drake song featuring The Weeknd that he credited for producing with the help of artificial intelligence. The production company Universal Music Group already required streaming platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music to establish mechanisms to prevent the “unauthorized” use of songs whose copyright belongs to them to train these AI tools. On August 12, we observed how a supposed collaboration between Quevedo and Rosalía, produced by IA, went viral. The video clip of this 2 minute and 58 second song has been published on YouTube, including the complete lyrics, and has already accumulated almost 500,000 views.

Therefore, artificial intelligence presents great technological capabilities but some real challenges to guarantee its coexistence with intellectual protection and copyright, and culture in general. Is there some kind of legislation that regulates the use of artificial intelligence? Are there any consequences for those who use the artistic productions of others to generate content without their consent? From Cadena SER, we spoke with the lawyer from Legálitas Raquel Rodríguez to analyze the current state of the legal framework, both in Spain and in the European Union.

“Technology always advances much faster”

“As a starting point, we find ourselves in a lack of regulation of artificial intelligence,” Rodríguez begins by explaining. The lawyer for Legálitas warns that, from the improper use of personal images, as has been the case with numerous Spanish personalities such as Laura Escanes or Rosalía, to any type of artistic work, be it literature, music or images, there is no mechanism or any organism that regulates that this content that is illegitimate is not produced.

Currently, as there is no clear legislation, Rodríguez explains that each case would have to be analyzed individually. “It would be necessary to see if the influence can even be criminal because I am trying to defame or slander or generate damage, as is the case with compromised images; or if I am taking advantage of the fame of an artist to viralize my content and generate an economic benefit , but without caricaturing his person”, he adds.

Likewise, the detection of the people who send the instructions, who are behind these pieces generated with the support of artificial intelligence, Raquel Rodríguez acknowledges that “it is complicated”. “In topics that come up, especially on social media, it’s relatively easy to hide behind fake profiles, which makes the pursuit quite complex,” she says. “It is very difficult to stop the diffusion and it starts a bit from the population education”, admits Rodríguez. As the American writer did, on many occasions, the most effective thing is to echo on networks and the media, explaining that what is being disseminated “is a lie.”

Although, in the same way, tools that allow us to detect, for example, if a text has been produced by artificial intelligence, are still coming to light, this is still insufficient since it limits their benefit to those who have access to or knowledge of said tools. In other words, in other words, it does not stop the distribution of content produced by AI, so it does not allow controlling how many or which people it reaches, and if they have the appropriate tools to detect that it is a product produced by AI. . As it happens with the ‘fake news’.

The AI, can it be ‘author’?

“Technology always advances much faster than legislation advances,” says the lawyer. The states face a difficult challenge, since they are responsible for safeguarding the copyrights of artists, but, in turn, face the speed at which advances are made with this type of technology, explains Raquel Rodríguez .

From a legal point of view, “in Spain it is not obligatory to register the works that one carries out in the intellectual property registry, but it is recommended”. By doing so, in the event that a work is released that is not registered under the author’s name, as was the case with Jane Friedman, you have added protection. For her part, Raquel Rodríguez emphasizes the importance of protecting content with instruments such as watermarks.

The creation of products using artificial intelligence has also raised questions about whether they can be registered by the person who gave the instructions for it to take place. “Can a work that has been produced by artificial intelligence be protected? Can we profit at the expense of AI?” are some of the questions that Raquel Rodríguez raises. For the moment, Spain’s position is similar to that of the European Union resolution on “Intellectual property rights for the development of technologies related to artificial intelligence”, which it issued in October 2020. In it, collects that: “works produced autonomously by artificial agents and robots should not be eligible for copyright protection, in order to respect the principle of originality, which is linked to a natural person, and since the concept of “intellectual creation” carries the personality of the author.”

The road to regularization

Given the current uncertainty regarding the use of this technology, it remains to be seen the action plans of the different authorities, both national and international. Within its digital strategy, the European Parliament has already expressed its commitment to regulate artificial intelligence with the Artificial Intelligence Law, the first in the world, which could begin to be applied as of 2026.

From the Government of Spain, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation works on the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (ENIA) whose objective is to provide a reference framework for the development of an inclusive, sustainable and citizen-focused AI. This strategy is one of the fundamental pillars of the Digital Spain 2026 Agenda. “There is interest in addressing the issue, but from then on we know that there are some bases, something more concrete on paper…At the moment, there is not much , we have to live with uncertainty”, Raquel Rodríguez ditch.


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