Canada’s Government Tackles Copyright Challenges in the Era of AI
The Canadian Government is taking steps to address the complex copyright issues arising from the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. In a recent development, on October 12, 2023, the Government of Canada initiated an online public consultation focusing on Copyright in the Age of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI). The consultation aims to revisit this issue due to the rapid advancements in generative AI technologies, which have raised concerns among stakeholders in the creative industries and the AI sector alike.
Generative AI involves the creation of various forms of media, such as text, images, music, and more, using generative models that learn from input training data. One well-known example of generative AI implementation is ChatGPT. While generative AI has opened up new possibilities, it has also raised questions regarding consent, credit, and compensation for creators.
Stakeholders from the creative industries are concerned that AI undermines their ability to consent to the use of their works and receive proper credit and compensation. On the other hand, the AI industry is apprehensive about the applicability of Canada’s existing copyright laws to works produced by generative AI. This uncertainty poses potential challenges to domestic investment and economic opportunities in AI in Canada.
The consultation will focus on three key categories:
1. Text and Data Mining (TDM) and Machine Learning Model Training: The Government seeks to clarify how Canada’s Copyright Act should apply to TDM activities. It aims to address questions surrounding fair dealing for research and temporary reproductions for technological processes in the context of TDM.
2. AI-assisted and AI-generated Creative Outputs: The Government is exploring the need to modify the copyright ownership and authorship regimes to account for AI-generated works. It has presented three approaches to address the uncertainty: clarifying that copyright protection only applies to works created by humans, attributing authorship to the person who arranged for the AI-generated work, or creating new rights specifically for AI-generated works.
3. Use of AI Systems and Liability for Infringement: This category focuses on the practical aspects of identifying individuals responsible for copyright infringement through AI systems. It also addresses the establishment of access to original copyrighted works and the reproduction of a substantial portion of those works.
To inform their decisions, the Canadian Government will consider feedback from stakeholders, legislative and jurisprudential developments in other jurisdictions, and technical evidence. Interested parties can provide feedback online until December 4, 2023. The results of the consultation will be made available online next year.
Overall, Canada’s Government recognizes the need to address copyright challenges in the age of AI, considering the concerns of stakeholders in creative industries and the potential impact on the AI sector. By involving various perspectives and seeking feedback, the Government aims to strike a balance that supports innovation, protects creators, and fosters economic growth in Canada’s evolving digital landscape.