Federal government launches public consultation on generative AI implications for copyright holders

The public are invited to submit feedback online until December 4

Federal government launches public consultation on generative AI implications for copyright holders

The federal government has launched a public consultation on the implications of generative artificial intelligence (AI) for copyright holders.

In line with the proposed Artificial Intelligence and Data Act, as part of Bill C-27, the government has considered updating other legislative frameworks to address the changing technological landscape, including the rapid advancement of AI technologies.

Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry François-Philippe Champagne and Minister of Canadian Heritage Pascale St-Onge jointly announced a consultation aimed at gathering the public’s 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.

The consultation, outlined in a comprehensive paper, will address critical questions:

  • the use of copyright-protected works in the training of AI systems;
  • authorship and ownership rights related to AI-generated content; and
  • liability, significantly when AI-generated content could infringe existing copyright-protected works.

In 2021, the government initiated a consultation on these questions. Many Canadians felt it was early to comment on the implications of AI for the copyright framework. However, with the recent public release of powerful generative AI tools, many stakeholders, particularly in the creative industries, have highlighted the importance of revisiting these issues.

“As developments in AI intensify, our government is seizing every opportunity to stimulate innovation and the possibilities offered by this revolutionary technology,” Minister Champagne said. “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.”

Minister St-Onge highlighted the importance of these consultations in addressing the questions raised by authors, musicians, and artists regarding protecting their work amid evolving generative AI technologies.

The government has invited the public to submit feedback online until December 4. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Canadian Heritage will also hold a series of roundtables with various stakeholders, including those involved in the creative industries and AI development. The comments collected will contribute to copyright policy development. The government will provide an update on the consultation findings in 2024.

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