Feds launch consultation on ‘implications’ of generative AI for copyright framework

By Amanda Jerome

Law360 Canada (October 12, 2023, 1:54 PM EDT) -- The minister of innovation, science and industry and the minister of Canadian heritage have launched a consultation to “gather Canadians’ thoughts on generative AI tools and the implications for copyright holders to give consent and receive credit and compensation for the use of their works.”

According to a government release, issued Oct. 12, the issues which will be addressed during the consultation are:
  • “the use of copyright-protected works in the training of AI systems;
  • authorship and ownership rights related to AI-generated content; and
  • liability, especially when AI-generated content could infringe existing copyright-protected works.”

These questions are outlined in the consultation paper.

According to the release, the government “first consulted on these questions in 2021 through the Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.”

“At that time, many Canadians felt it was early to comment on the implications of AI for the copyright framework. However, with the more recent public release of powerful generative AI tools, many stakeholders, particularly in the creative industries, have highlighted the importance of revisiting these issues,” the release explained.

François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry

François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry

François-Philippe Champagne, minister of innovation, science and industry, noted that as “developments in AI intensify, our government is seizing every opportunity to stimulate innovation and the possibilities offered by this revolutionary technology.”

“Canada’s copyright framework needs to remain balanced and able to facilitate a functional marketplace, and that’s why we’re studying the best way forward to protect the rights of Canadians, while ensuring the safe and ethical development of AI,” he added in a statement.

Canadians have until Dec. 4, 2023, to submit feedback online, the release explained, noting that “Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Canadian Heritage will also hold a series of roundtables with a variety of stakeholders, including those involved in the creative industries and AI development.

“The comments collected will contribute to copyright policy development. An update on the consultation findings will be posted online in 2024,” the release added.

Pascale St-Onge, minister of Canadian heritage, noted that “Canada’s authors, musicians and artists are asking important questions about how to protect their work as generative AI evolves.”

“These consultations are one step towards leveraging AI to improve our lives, while ensuring that human creativity and innovation continue to thrive,” he explained.

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