Japan Eyes IP Protections in Era of Generative AI

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A government blueprint for the utilization of intellectual property will touch on copyright infringement involving generative artificial intelligence, it has been learned.

According to a draft of the plan, the government will clarify cases that constitute copyright infringement when copyrighted material is used to train AI models and scrutinize necessary measures.

The plan, which is formulated annually, outlines the direction of government measures for the protection and utilization of intellectual property.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The draft states that the relationship between generative AI and intellectual property “needs to be reexamined” in light of the rapid development and proliferation of the technology.

According to the draft, “Appropriate measures to address concerns and risks must be implemented to promote the development, provision, and use of generative AI.”

The draft also states that “content created [by generative AI] that is similar to original material could result in a large number of copyright infringements, which might make it difficult for individual right holders to resolve disputes” under the Copyright Law.

The draft calls for clarification on issues such as the possibility of copyright infringement in the use and publication of AI-generated content, and the appropriate use of copyrighted materials to train AI models.

The draft also stated that “necessary measures will be considered, keeping in mind both the progress of AI technology and the protection of creators’ rights.”

However, specific details about future measures were not stated.

A provision in the Copyright Law states that training AI models with copyrighted material does not require permission from copyright holders, except for cases when the actions “would unreasonably prejudice the interests of the copyright owner,” in principle.

However, the Cultural Affairs Agency has provided few examples of such cases. The draft calls for clarification on such exceptions.

Regarding patent screenings of inventions generated by AI technology, the draft said the government will “organize and examine responses while assessing the situation in other countries.”