Japan Govt Collects Data on AI-related Copyright Infringement Cases, to Consider Measures to Help Creators

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A subcommittee of the Cultural Affairs Council discusses the issue of generative AI and copyrights in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Feb. 29.

The Cultural Affairs Agency has started to collect data on copyright infringement cases linked to the development and use of generative artificial intelligence through the agency’s consultation service. The agency intends to use such data to consider measures that would help creators concerned about AI generating large numbers of texts and illustrations similar to those they have spent much time creating.

Data will be collected mainly through a legal consultation service website dedicated to issues concerning cultural and artistic activities, which was set up by the agency last fall. At the end of February, the agency added “Regarding AI and copyright” as a consultation option on the website’s registration page.

Through the website, creators can consult lawyers commissioned by the agency on issues such as work contracts and remuneration, at no charge to the creator. By offering consultations on copyright infringement and suspected infringement cases, the agency hopes to understand specific problems being caused by AI.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Since the 2018 revisions to the Copyright Law, copyrighted materials such as texts and images can be used for AI training without permission. Rights holders groups have been protesting against the unauthorized training of AI models on copyrighted works and the online publication of AI-generated products similar to copyrighted materials.

In February, a subcommittee of the Cultural Affairs Council drafted an outline to clarify its interpretation of the current Copyright Law with regard to AI, but it did not discuss revisions to the law, citing a lack of data on copyright infringement cases caused by AI learning and of court precedents on such cases, according to the agency.