Dornis on ‘Authorless Works’ and ‘Inventions without Inventor’ and the Muddy Waters of ‘AI Autonomy’ in Intellectual Property Doctrine 

Tim W. Dornis (Leuphana University of Lueneburg, New York University School of Law) has posted “Of ‘Authorless Works’ and ‘Inventions without Inventor’ – The Muddy Waters of ‘AI Autonomy’ in Intellectual Property Doctrine” on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Artificial intelligence (AI) has entered all areas of our life, including creative production and inventive activity. Modern AI is used, inter alia, for the production of newspaper articles; the generation of weather, company, and stock market reports; the composition of music; the creation of visual arts; and pharmaceutical and medicinal research and development. Despite the exponential growth of such real- world scenarios of artificial creativity and inventiveness, it is still unclear whether the output of creative and inventive AI processes – i.e., AI-generated ‘works’ and ‘inventions’ – should be protected under copyright or patent law. Current doctrine largely denies such protection on the grounds that no human creator exists in cases where AI functions autonomously in the sense of being independent of and uncontrolled by humans. More recently, both the European Parliament and the EU Commission have put the topic on their agenda. Interestingly, their positions seem to contradict each other – one in favour of, one against creating new instruments of protection for AI-generated output. This and the rising debate in legal scholarship (with equally contradictory positions) invites more analysis. A closer look at the doctrinal foundations and economic underpinnings of ‘work without author’ and ‘invention without inventor’ scenarios reveals that neither the law as it stands nor scholarly debate is currently up to the challenges posed by AI creativity and inventiveness.