For architectural firms, the copyright protection of their works is essential in order to strengthen the competitiveness and to increase the value of the business, amongst other things. If the use of tools and aids based on AI technology becomes more widespread in the architectural profession, the ability to obtain copyright protection will be of key importance. The Court of Justice of the European Union has in a number of cases taken a positive approach to this issue but has stressed that work created solely by AI is not sufficient for copyright protection. There must be an original expression of creativity and a number of free and creative choices within the framework of the work created (see e.g., c-5/08 Infopaq, c-145/10 Painer, etc.) in a way that exceeds the capabilities of the AI technology. Thus, it is not enough to ask an AI software to produce a 90’s song with a synthesizer and lyrics in English, and then claim copyright.
While the Court of Justice of the EU has ruled in favor of copyright protection for works created using AI technology, a United States District Court last week declared that this is not possible. The case concerned an appeal by Stephen Thaler who had previously been denied a copyright registration by the USCO ( US Copyright Office) for his AI system. The US District Court ruled that only works that have human creators can receive copyright protection.
The legal approach to the question of whether or not works generated with the help of AI technology can be granted copyright protectionis relevant in situations where one party claims that the other has used their work without permission. If copyright protection has not been established, there can be no question of an infringement of someone else's copyright.
In addition to AI causing trouble for the architectural industry in terms of copyright issues, the implementation of the EU Copyright Directive into the Swedish legislation on January 1st this year meant several copyright restrictions. Under certain conditions, authors can now allow their works to be used in the context of research, teaching and text and data mining. The challenge for the architectural industry, as for many other industries, will be to turn all challenges into opportunities.
At Fondia we have a team with wide expertise in intellectual property law and AI. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need help with your questions.