The US Copyright Office is opening a public comment period starting August 30th to gather perspectives on several thorny questions surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and copyright law.
The agency announced the comment period in a notice published in the Federal Register on August 30th. Written comments are due by October 18th, with reply comments due by November 15th.
The Copyright Office is seeking input on three primary issues raised by the rise of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion. First, it wants to know if and when the use of copyrighted works to train AI models should require licensing or compensation for rights holders. Second, it is examining whether outputs created by AI systems with little or no human involvement can qualify for copyright protection. Third, it aims to understand how principles of copyright liability should apply when AI systems generate infringing content.
Beyond these core copyright questions, the agency is also gathering perspectives on whether AI outputs that mimic the style or likeness of actual people warrant publicity right protections. While publicity rights fall outside copyright law, the Copyright Office noted they are still relevant to the broader policy discussion around AI.
The copyright status of AI training data and outputs has become an increasingly pressing issue as lawsuits allege infringement and lawmakers call for clearer guardrails around AI. Earlier this month, a DC court affirmed the Copyright Office's view that works created solely by AI are ineligible for protection.
If you would like to provide feedback, the Copyright Office is using the regulations.gov system for the submission and posting of public comments. Specific instructions for submitting comments are available on the Copyright Office website at https://copyright.gov/policy/artificial-intelligence/.
Through this comment process, the Office hopes to inform Congress on potential legislative solutions and update its own guidance on AI and copyright. The study comes amid the agency's broader Artificial Intelligence Initiative exploring these issues.