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April 10, 2024

WATCH: Rep. Schiff Presses AI Experts on Protecting Creators, Addressing Copyright Issues

Washington, D.C.— Today, during a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property, Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) discussed the importance of protecting creators and ensuring transparency in use of copyrighted materials to train AI. 

His remarks come on the heels of his newly introduced legislation, the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act, which would require a notice to be submitted to the Register of Copyrights prior to the release of a new generative AI system with regard to all copyrighted works used in building or altering the training dataset for that system. 

During the hearing, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Schiff’s bill would be taken up by the subcommittee.

Watch the full video of Schiff’s remarks HERE.


Key Excerpts:

On the Importance of the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There's no doubt that AI has the potential to change our economy, our political system, our day to day life in potentially very good ways and also very disruptive ways. AI has opened a world of opportunity for creators, whether that's utilizing pioneering technology to isolate vocal tracks or generate unique compositions that artists can incorporate into their works.

But we have to balance technological advancement with the protection of individual creators’ rights, ensuring the progress does not come at the expense of the creative community. After all, human creativity powers AI and makes these advancements possible. As has been raised during the hearing today, the rapid development of generative AI technologies has outpaced existing copyright laws, which has led to widespread use of creative content to train generative AI models without consent or compensation.

As you were indicating, that might violate the copyright laws. This is why yesterday I introduced the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act, which will further innovation and safeguard the contribution of creators, ensuring that at a minimum they're aware of when their work contributes to AI training datasets. Similar to proposals put forward in the EU, my bill mandates transparency from companies by requiring they disclose a summary of copyrighted works used to train any AI systems, ensuring creators are informed and have the tools to advocate for credit or compensation where it's due.

This bill is a step and only a first step in this direction, and I welcome the opportunity to work with members of the subcommittee to champion innovation while safeguarding the rights and contributions of creators.


Chairman Issa on Bringing up Rep. Schiff’s Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act:

[...] And I know yours and Mr. Cline’s bill, which is forthcoming, are going to be taken up by this subcommittee, so I appreciate your thoughtful work on that.


On Drawing the Line Between Human vs. AI Authorship

REP. SCHIFF: And where do you draw the line of human versus AI authorship? And how do you think that the specific material and AI model is trained on should be considered? And I would throw that open to the whole panel.

PROF. GARCIA: Sure. So I'll start. I think that I wish I knew exactly where to draw the line. I'll say again that I'd love to see more of these applications come in so we can see what people are doing with the generative AI to get a sense of it. If I had to give one criteria now, it would be to consider whether the final product reflects the original intellectual conception of a human. And if so, then I think I would lean toward granting copyright protection.

REP. SCHIFF: And that is very hard to define, isn't it? 


REP. SCHIFF: Would others care to weigh in?

MR. LANDAU: Sure. Creativity is hard to define as well. So I think that this is part and parcel of copyright, is how do we say that something is creative? How do we define creativity? In the context of AI, I agree with Professor Garcia completely that it was the human using it as a tool. I think it was the ranking member that mentioned Auto-Tune, which is its own form of AI and has been used for I don't know if it's decades now, but for quite a while, and we've seen similar tools in the past. In context, those tools are fine.

Generative AI is where it can step over that line, and I don't think we have equivalents in the patent space yet. Certainly not on the tech side. And I'm hearing not really on the bio side where you just say, give me this, it spits something out. If we get to that point, then that will become much more of an important question on patents. Right now, it's probably not.