1984 – Arnold Schwarzenegger amazes us with his most recognized role as the lethal yet human-looking robot returning to the past to eliminate humanity’s savior from a future of humans being enslaved by machines.
This was Artificial Intelligence (“AI“) at its best – lethal and sophisticated yet beatable by irreplaceable human qualities such as the ability to love.
So, it began in the early 80’s but still today, in the 21st century, the most basic question of whether AI will replace humans, still occupies us.
We know today that machines can often replace humans.
We also know that it seems that machines are often doing a better job than humans.
We now debate whether machines can own the fruits of their work – the intellectual property, or more accurately, if not them who owns these assets?

The laws that exist in most countries around the world, including Israel, do not allow the attribution of legal rights and/or intellectual rights to AI and the owner of the legal and intellectual property rights will most likely be determined to be the publisher or the programmer and\or its employer. But still, it is not obvious and clear how to determine who owns the assets of AI’s work.
There is a new amendment to Israeli Copyrights Law that will come into force in about 6 months. A lot was said about this amendment, mostly criticism, but it’s also worth noting an interesting addition to Section 27 to the Law addressing the matter of “orphan works” . Orphan Works are works in which the owner of the right is unknown or not found. The law determines that the use of works in which the owner of the copyright is unknown or not located is permitted under the terms set forth in the amendment, the purpose of which is to verify that an attempt has been made to locate the owner of the copyright. Further, the section distinguishes between non-commercial use of the work and commercial use, where conditions are more stringent.

Besides the very vague terms and considerations, can we deduce from that, that if the creator of the work is an AI than one can argue that it is an “orphan work” and therefor open for public use?

No doubt this is a harsh outcome. I seriously doubt the prospects of such defense arguments in an infringement court case, but we cannot ignore the fact that it is a fascinating argument.
Best of luck to those who will try to use use it though…

Adi Barkan-Lev

About Adi Barkan-Lev

An experienced attorney specializing in Intellectual Property matters. Providing consulting, prosecution and legal services in all areas of Intellectual Property, including copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, patents, commercial wrongs, counterfeit goods and imitations.