Semantron 23 Summer 2023

Copyright law

AI systems. In this case, no one is entitled to own and benefit from the copyright of the work, the software developer might not be able to recoup or gain from the effort paid during the developing process. Consequently, creativity and innovation may be restricted.

On the other hand, the approach to copyright protection of AI-generated content in the United States is completely different. In 2018, the US Copyright Office rejected the request for copyright protection of an AI-created work due to the judgement that the creation ‘ lacks the human authorship necessary to support a copyright claim ’ . 30 Steven Thaler, on behalf of the AI engine, was unable to obtain the copyright for the work and added that ‘ copyright is vital to promoting the production of socially valuable content. Providing this protection is required under current legal frameworks .’ 30 The United Kingdom and the United States are leading innovators in the technology sector, yet they have responded to the issue very differently. As for which approach is more suitable and effective in enhancing societal development, it is the government’s responsibility to consult experts and the public in order to reduce the ambiguity of the law and encompass rapid technological advancement. In any case, the law should always protect the effort of the author or machine designer as the work may be indispensable to our future.


Copyright has been established for more than five centuries and it has become an integral part of our society. The main objective of the law is to encourage and promote creativity and innovation. Overall, there are several parts and flaws in the legal system and the law itself which may hinder societal development. This includes the unaffordable amount of litigation fees, insufficient support to the minority party and the ambiguity of the law. However, with the growth of and success in alternative dispute resolution systems, as well as the underlying principle behind the law, copyright promotes creativity in general. However, the law should be revised and modified in order to tackle the aforementioned drawbacks. Civil Legal Advice and Legal Aids system should no longer be available to debt, family and housing problems cases only; support should also be provided to intellectual property cases. In addition, the law should be amended to clarify the ambiguous definition of ‘ substantial part ’ to prevent controversial judgements and prohibit parties from generating profits by exploiting the grey areas of the law. In terms of technological advancement, the UK copyright law is still far from encompassing the development of artificial intelligence. The vague definition and controversial approach of copyright law on authorship and originality of computer-generated work should be revised. The updated law should be able to ‘ provide better legal certainty to the owners and developers of AI software ’ . 31 As a result, the initial purpose of the copyright law, ‘ for the encouragement of learning ’ , can be retained.

30 Kinsella, E. (2022) Can A.I.-Generated Art Receive Copyright Protection? U.S. Authorities Say No, Citing a Lack of ‘Human Authorship’. Available at: intelligence-art-2076830 (Accessed: 14 March 2022). 31 Cheung, PY. (2022) ‘EPQ Research on Copyright Law’. Interview with Poyiu Cheung. Interviewed by Yan Hung LUI, 08 March.


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