Legal Alerts

Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act Introduced to Protect Creators

Los Angeles, Calif. (April 11, 2024) - A new federal bill introduced by Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) this week would require AI companies to disclose which copyrighted works were used to train their models. The Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act would apply to both new models and retroactively to previously released and used generative AI systems.

The bill requires that a full list of copyrighted works in an AI model's training data set be filed with the Copyright Office no later than 30 days before the model becomes available to consumers. This would also be required when the training data set for an existing model is altered in a significant manner. Financial penalties for non-compliance would be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Copyright Office, based on factors like the company's history of noncompliance and the company's size.

The bill has garnered support from many music industry groups, including the Recorded Industry Association of America (RIAA), National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA), ASCAP, Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC), and Human Artistry Campaign. Prior to the introduction of this Act, over 200-high profile musicians, including Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj, Stevie Wonder, and the estates of Frank Sinatra and Bob Marley, signed an open letter, calling for protections against the "predatory use of artificial intelligence" that mimics human artists' likenesses, voices, and sounds. The letter, issued by the Artist Rights Alliance advocacy group, makes a broad demand that technology companies pledge not to develop AI tools that undermine or replace human songwriters and artists. It states that this "assault on human creativity must be stopped" and that there is a need to "protect against the predatory use of AI to steal professional artists' voices and likenesses, violate creators' rights, and destroy the music ecosystem." They argue that, without transparency around the use of copyrighted works in training AI, creators will never be fairly compensated and AI tech companies will continue "stealing" from songwriters.

The bill is seen as an important step toward ensuring that the law puts humans first in the age of AI. The impacts of passing the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act include:

Copyright Law:

  • The bill would require AI companies to disclose the copyrighted works used to train their generative AI models. This would increase transparency around the use of copyrighted materials in AI training.
  • It aims to ensure creators are aware when their copyrighted works are used in AI training datasets, so they can be fairly compensated.
  • The bill does not ban the use of copyrighted works in AI training, but rather seeks to create more transparency and accountability around it.

Intellectual Property Law:

  • The bill responds to concerns that major AI companies have been using copyrighted works without permission or compensation to train their models.
  • It would provide a mechanism for copyright holders to track and potentially enforce their rights against unauthorized use of their works in AI systems.

Regulatory Framework for AI:

  • The bill is seen as an important first step in establishing ethical guidelines and protections around the use of AI technology.
  • It aims to balance the potential benefits of AI with the need to safeguard the rights and contributions of creators.
  • If passed, the disclosure requirements could set a precedent for further regulation of AI companies' use of copyrighted and other intellectual property.

In summary, the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act would primarily impact copyright and intellectual property laws by mandating more transparency around AI companies' use of copyrighted works. This is intended to protect the rights of creators as AI technology continues to advance.

Here are some suggestions for individuals to help ensure they are following the requirements of the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive audit of your AI training data: Thoroughly review the copyrighted works included in your AI models' training datasets. Document all the copyrighted materials used, including the specific works, owners, and licensing status.
  2. Establish a compliance process: Implement a robust process to identify, track, and disclose the use of copyrighted works in your AI training data. This should include procedures for filing the required notices with the Copyright Office at least 30 days before releasing new or updated AI models.
  3. Engage with copyright holders: Proactively reach out to the owners of the copyrighted works in your training data. Seek to obtain the necessary permissions or licenses to use their content. Demonstrate good faith efforts to collaborate with creators and compensate them fairly.
  4. Prioritize transparency: Be transparent about your use of copyrighted materials in AI training. Clearly document and disclose the information required by the Act, including a summary of the copyrighted works used. Avoid any attempt to obscure or minimize the use of protected content.
  5. Allocate resources for compliance: Dedicate sufficient financial and personnel resources to ensure full compliance with the Act. This may include hiring copyright and compliance specialists, developing specialized software tools, and budgeting for potential licensing fees or penalties.
  6. Stay informed and adaptable: Closely monitor the evolving legal and regulatory landscape around AI and copyright. Be prepared to adjust your practices as new guidance or interpretations of the Act emerge from the Copyright Office or the courts.
  7. Consult legal counsel: Retain experienced intellectual property and regulatory attorneys to provide ongoing guidance and support in navigating the complexities of the Generative AI Copyright Disclosure Act.

By proactively addressing these key areas, individuals can mitigate the risk of non-compliance and demonstrate a genuine commitment to respecting the rights of creators in the age of generative AI.

For more information on this topic, contact the author of this alert. Visit our Intellectual Property & Technology Practice page to learn more about Lewis Brisbois' capabilities in this area.


Sarkis Yeretsian, Associate

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