AI Generated Content – Who owns it?

Elvin Mootoosamy November 1, 2023

Scientists pretty much agree that Homo Sapiens evolved into its current form around 500,000 years ago. But where there is far less consensus is – which development has had the most significant impact on the species. Was it the wheel? The steam engine? The internal combustion engine? Flight? The PC? The internet? Or will it be … Artificial Intelligence – the process of performing tasks that require human intelligence?

AI’s potential is vast and continuously evolving, with advancements such as deep learning, which involves neural networks with many layers (deep neural networks) to analyse various factors of data.

AI – a Massively Controversial Development

While AI is a revolutionary field, it’s also proved to be a massively controversial development. Will it, in the long run, be a force for good or evil? Will it rid humanity of disease and poverty? Will it drive innovation, making what once seemed impossible a reality? Or will it, in the wrong hands, be an existential threat? Already, AI presents us with several ethical considerations, including concerns regarding data privacy, bias, and the potential for misuse.

In this article, we’ll explore the implications that AI raises in the field of IP (Intellectual Property).

Plunging into the unregulated waters of AI

The recent emergence of AI raises many pertinent questions surrounding the ownership of AI-generated content. From deepfakes to voice cloning, the potential and the pitfalls of AI are growing. Organisations are plunging headlong into uncharted waters with little regulatory guidance to anchor them. It is crucial that all of us – governments, institutions, companies and individuals quickly get a grip of the nuances of content ownership in the field of AI.

The Ownership Conundrum

At the heart of the 2023 incarnation of AI lies a stark lack of clear regulatory guidelines, specifically around the ownership of AI-generated content. Your business might be exploring new horizons through automation and content creation with AI. But, when you or your employees use AI to generate content, do you understand the ramifications, especially when it comes to claiming rights over such content?

The ownership debate rears its head

As it crafts graphics for presentations or churns out copy for proposals and marketing materials, you may find AI’s prowess awe-inspiring. But – the moment you decide to publish this AI-generated content for advertising or monetisation purposes, the ownership debate rears its head. What proof of ownership do you have? It’s the AI tool that is your craftsman here, so who truly owns the content?

The core of the problem is the method of content creation by generative AI tools. They learn and evolve from external data, some of which might be copyrighted. Hence, the moment you make use of its output, you’re instantly entangled in a web of intellectual property and copyright issues.


Tools like ChatGPT – A Double-edged Sword?

Enter ChatGPT, a tool that exemplifies this new era of content generation. With a few sentences as input, it can generate pages of content. ChatGPT is a repository of public information. It learns from freely available online content how to understand and respond to various user queries. The question is – does the ownership of AI-generated content lie with the sources it learned from?

There’s no current law that says that ChatGPT must reference its sources. The assumption is that you, the user who requests AI-generated content, own it. This belief stems from the fact that you are often the one editing, fact-checking, and ultimately publishing the content.


The Legal Landscape – a Work in Progress

The legal framework around AI-generated content is yet to catch up with the rapid advancements in AI technology. The capability of AI in image creation, voice cloning, and deepfakes has exacerbated concerns, as malicious actors are already leveraging these technologies for impersonation and misinformation – a typical recent instance being 2 BBC journalists apparently promoting a Bitcoin scam.

So, what is being done to address the issue? The good news is that the world isn’t standing idly by. Active discussions are currently underway among AI organisations and U.S. and other countries’ government entities. They are working to carve out rules concerning privacy, liability, copyright, and intellectual property. However, it’s early days and, to date, there are no laws governing AI-generated content.

The Way Ahead

The future of AI in modern-day operations is undeniable. Many organisations are already making use of AI-based virtual support agents and chatbots, gradually reducing their dependency on human content creators. However, the ethical and legal concerns surrounding unethical use, misinformation and the core issue of IP ownership won’t be going away.

Transparency regarding the training materials of generative AI and a defined regulatory framework is urgently required. Although many countries are still in the embryonic stages of framing AI policies, we must all hope that the accelerated pace of AI development hastens policy formulation.

Embracing AI with Recogitate

As we navigate through the complex tapestry of AI-generated content, having a reliable partner can make a significant difference. Here at Recogitate, <> we harness the best of AI technology to support businesses <> of all sizes in several ways.


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