As AI rewrites the content story, who owns the words?

Many copyright laws were drafted long before artificial intelligence arrived

By Rashit Makhat

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Published: Sun 31 Mar 2024, 10:45 AM

Last updated: Mon 1 Apr 2024, 7:21 PM

The emergence of AI language models led by ChatGPT has sparked a revolution in content creation. By managing labour-intensive tasks ranging from research to data analysis, AI tools can now craft articles, scripts, and marketing copy with increasing sophistication.

By tailoring content to specific audiences, AI empowers brands to boost engagement and conversion rates, helping them react swiftly to evolving market trends and new opportunities. Turning words into pictures and music, it expands creative possibilities.

While there are cases where Generative AI has taken over commercial output from individuals, we’re a long way from that becoming widespread. It’s still a tool, and some will use it better than others to speed up and enhance their contribution.

But there are big concerns regarding how current copyright laws address the ownership and protection of AI-powered content, and whether they are sufficient to navigate the complexities introduced by AI?

The US Copyright Office does not register works made entirely by AI, even if guided by a human. AI is seen as the actual creator, not the person, although AI-generated content with significant human input may qualify for copyright protection.

The UK stands out for offering copyright protection for computer-generated works. But despite recent EU legislation on AI regulation, doubts persist about its effectiveness, especially over foundational models like ChatGPT.

Many copyright laws were drafted long before artificial intelligence arrived. They simply weren’t designed for AI, and like most businesses and individuals, struggle to keep up with it.

Inconsistent laws globally pose challenges for international businesses. Urgent legal reforms or international agreements are necessary, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia leading efforts in the Middle East.

The UAE, aiming to be a global leader in AI readiness, appointed a Minister for AI and developed a national AI strategy. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 also prioritises AI integration, establishing a progressive regulatory framework.

Rashit Makhat, director and co-founder, Scalo Technologies
Rashit Makhat, director and co-founder, Scalo Technologies

The lack of proper recognition for the creators of AI-generated work is another significant issue, and can lead to a lack of acknowledgment or financial reward for those who developed the AI and its algorithms.

Crucially, businesses and individuals using AI tools must be aware of both the opportunities and risks involved. They are responsible for addressing ethical concerns such as biased or harmful content, transparency, data privacy, intellectual property rights, and team roles and morale.

As awareness about AI’s role in content creation grows, disclosing AI involvement becomes crucial for building trust. It’s important to address potential biases in AI algorithms to prevent harmful or offensive content.

Tech companies and platforms must focus on creating ethical AI tools, and raise awareness of the need for them to be used responsibly. This begins with creating clear policies on content ownership and specifying usage rights on their platforms.

They should educate creators and businesses about AI’s copyright impact and use transparency tools to show AI involvement. The goal is to promote AI-driven creativity and ethical content creation within clear legal guidelines.

Understandably, there are concerns about dominance by the big tech companies because of their resources, and their access to the data needed to train AI.

We need fair rules to ensure everyone benefits from this exciting technology, not just a few big players. The future of creativity depends on it.

The wrtier is director and co-founder, Scalo Technologies, a tech venture company based in Dubai.

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