Japan’s Cultural Affairs Agency Committee Presents AI Copyright Challenges; Eyes Stakeholder Network of Creators, Businesses

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Cultural Affairs Agency in Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto.

A small committee of the Cultural Affairs Agency has presented cases that could constitute copyright infringement by generative artificial intelligence (AI) in a report detailing its interpretation of copyright law. The report was presented in the Agency’s subcommittee on Tuesday.

The report identified cases that might constitute copyright infringement, though copyright law, in principle, permits the unauthorized learning of copyrighted works by AI. Such potential infringements include using password-protected databases that are intended for future sale to facilitate AI learning. The report states that this could be seen as unauthorized learning that unjustly harms the rights holder’s interests.

Furthermore, actions such as intensively training on specific works to generate similar texts or images could also potentially constitute copyright infringement.

On the other hand, the report did not address considerations for amending the law as requested by rights holder groups. Instead, it states that efforts will be made to understand situations involving examples of copyright infringement, technological advancements and international trends, with revisions to be considered as necessary.

Meanwhile, the agency announced the establishment of a stakeholder network on AI and copyright to foster mutual understanding between creators and businesses, saying that the first meeting is slated for as early as April. In the envisioned stakeholder network, creators and businesses involved in AI development will come together to share information on potential cases of copyright infringement and exchange opinions on countermeasures.