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Japan tackles copyright infringement linked to AI technology

10 July 2023

Japan tackles copyright infringement linked to AI technology

The Japanese government recently released an intellectual property promotion strategy that indicates a policy change from supporting artificial intelligence to limiting technology. The strategy focuses on addressing copyright infringement related to the production of AI technology.

The government is believed to have considered copyright infringement concerns raised by content creators, among others, when it supported the proposal.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated at a meeting of the Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters that they would consider necessary measures, including responses to specific risks such as copyright infringement.

This is the first time in six years that AI has received significant space in the yearly created strategy.

“One of the features of the new blueprint has been to relax the protection of copyright for third party works, third party infringement taking place, and when AI uses the copyrighted work of a third party in data or prompts entered into AI,” said Govind Kumar Chaturvedi, a social media law, privacy and IP expert. “This also applies when the work generated by AI is like the third party’s work. However, for AI to learn or adapt, it needs information or data sets as AI-generated work has two stages: the development or learning stage and the generation or utilization stage.” 

He added: “Article 30-4 of the Copyright Law of Japan is stifling the learning curve of AI in Japan in its first stage, as it allows the authors to stop AI from using their work without authorization. However, the new blueprint, which relaxes the said protection for copyrighted works, is meant to allow AI to learn at its development stage to use a copyrighted work without authorization from the author.”

In 2017, the regulations highlighted the need to “promote business creation through necessary legislation,” also noting the impact AI would have on creative activities was “unclear.” This was due to concerns that copyright law regulations were hindering the development of AI technology.

Japan’s AI restrictions are less strict than Western nations because their copyright law, updated in 2018, permits using copyrighted works without the owners’ consent.

- Excel Dyquiangco

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