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A group of French politicians have proposed some changes to the country’s copyright laws that would respond to the emergence of generative AI technologies. It’s fair to say they’re… bold.

TechnoLlama has the details. Among the proposals are that that creators and rightsholders must authorise any use of their works to train AI models, which is something that the music industry (in France and beyond) has been lobbying energetically for.

However, the proposals go further. “When the work is created by artificial intelligence without direct human intervention, the only rights holders are the authors or assignees of the works that made it possible to conceive the said artificial work,” is another suggestion.

This would present obvious challenges. Think about a musical AI that has been trained on a million songs. Would the rightsholders of each of those works have a millionth share of the rights for every track the AI generates?

Or would there need to be a system capable of identifying exactly what percentage of any new track is traceable back to a source work, in order to assign those rights. And in any case, how would the definition of ‘without direct human intervention’ be set?

The proposals also include requiring AI-generated art to be clearly labelled as such including the authors of the original source works, and the suggestion that if the source works for AI-generated art cannot be determined, there could be “a tax intended to enhance the value of creation” to be distributed by collecting societies.

As we’ve seen in other parts of the world, politicians can propose all manner of legislative changes. What matters is whether their government agrees and backs those proposals; how they’re changed during the legislative process; and whether their fellow politicians ultimately vote them into law.

How will this set of proposals be responded to as part of that process? All eyes on France in the weeks and months ahead.

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