Copyright Law Archive

Tuesday

7

November 2023

1

COMMENTS

Question: Is It Legal to Use AI to Write a Book?

Written by , Posted in Copyright Law, Intellectual Property Law

author sitting in front of books bookself and computer monitors writing ai content blue

Answer: Yes it is legal.  There are no specific laws prohibiting the use of AI for writing and publishing books. The legality of using AI to write a book in the United States primarily depends on copyright and intellectual property laws.

Relevant US Law

  • Copyright Law: Under US Copyright Law, works created by AI might not qualify for copyright protection as they are not created by a human author. However, the person programming or instructing the AI can claim some rights. In my opinion, most traditional authors such as novelists would be very unlikely to disclose any use of AI as it may tarnish their reputation.
  • Intellectual Property Rights: If the AI uses existing copyrighted material to create a book, it might infringe upon the copyright holder’s intellectual property rights. The onus however would be on the infringed to spot this and to take action. Chat GPT, and especially Bing Chat powered by OpenAI is quite notorious for plagiarizing small chunks (1-5%) for its answers in my experience, often times taking 1-2 sentences verbatim from the source and including it in its output. This could lead to being caught if someone used Copyscape.com or another plagiarism detection tool that would detect these standalone plagiarized sentences.

Hypothetical Example

Imagine an AI that writes a novel based on input from an author. The author provides themes, character ideas, and plot points, and the AI generates the text. In this scenario, the resulting book may be considered a collaborative work.

In most likelihood however, the author’s technical and creative engagement with the AI system, alongside the careful vetting for originality, positions them to claim copyright ownership of the work under current interpretations of U.S. Copyright Law. The book’s publishing and sale on Amazon, contingent on policy adherence and full disclosure, is an exercise of the author’s right to distribute their original work.

Is it legal to sell AI written books on Amazon?

Answer: Yes it is legal to sell AI written books on Amazon and Kindle. However, in September 2023 Amazon introduced new rules and guidance for Kindle books generated by artificial intelligence on their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) portal. There is already quite an influx of AI-generated content on Kindle (such as self-help books, as well as coloring books and other visual type mediums). This is because of the low barrier of entry, so it makes sense that Amazon decided to clamp down here specifically.

The new rules require authors to inform Amazon when content is AI-generated. The company has also added a new section to its content guidelines focused on AI, which includes definitions of “AI-generated” versus “AI-assisted” content. Importantly, sellers are not required to disclose when content is AI-assisted.

In my view, what would most likely lead to legal trouble is if you use AI to mimic the style of a specific author or to replicate elements from their copyrighted works. This can lead to accusations of intellectual property misappropriation, claiming that you are diminishing the market value of their original works and can could create quite the legal headache for you, least of which is being potentially banned off of the KDP platform, or Amazon itself.

Selling AI-generated books that closely imitate another author’s style, especially if marketed as original works, can be considered false advertising under U.S. law. It would be akin to the sale of deep fakes in the art world which is a pretty low-brow thing to do, and a scheme that I would not recommend. “In the style of” is growing in popularity but not sure what the long term prospects are there.

Can you detect AI Generated Text

Answer: No, current public tools can’t reliably detect AI content. Even OpenAI’s very own AI detector tool didn’t work, and the tool was removed from their website within several months. Originality.ai also lost the public’s trust when Bible verses and other ancient works were flagged as 100% AI written. 02/12/2024 update: Originality.AI published their latest accuracy study, and we’ve played with it and it’s quite a bit better than before. It seems to do quite well at correctly identifying 100% boilerplate informational AI content. However if the content is tweaked a bit with examples or second-person language, Originality’s accuracy falls apart in our tests.

Detecting AI-generated content, including text and images, is possibly to a certain extent. However, it’s important to note that AI detection is a complex and evolving field, and no method is foolproof. AI-generated content, especially from advanced models, can be very sophisticated and challenging to distinguish from human-generated content.

Koala for instance , is a well-regarded AI writing tool that uses the latest GPT-4o API and can produce full blog posts from a simple keyword prompt that is good enough to publish on many sites. Its output isn’t detectable with any statistical significance and is popular with people making money online via long-form content but not wanting to disclose that they’re using AI. Koala’s proprietary SEO algorithm, data integration, and dynamic prompting tools are supposedly great.

For text, certain indicators can suggest AI authorship, like repetitive phrasing, unusual word choices, or a lack of deep contextual understanding. For images, signs such as unusual patterns, artifacts, or inconsistencies in the image might indicate AI generation.

It’s also useful to consider the context in which the content appears, as AI-generated content often lacks the nuanced understanding or personal experiences that a human might convey.

[CONTACT THE ATTORNEY WHO ANSWERED THIS QUESTION]

Tuesday

12

September 2023

0

COMMENTS

Question: Is It Legal to Repair a John Deere Tractor?

Written by , Posted in Copyright Law

Answer: Yes, it is legal to repair your own John Deere tractor or take it to an independent repair shop. This hasn’t always been the case and we’ve been asked this question many times over the years.

In 2021, President Biden signed an executive order calling for a countrywide policy allowing customers to repair their products, especially in the agriculture sector. Very important. While John Deere has historically restricted independent repairs through their software policies and warranty language, they recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Farm Bureau Federation in 2023 that allows for wider access to tools and information while protecting intellectual property rights and ensuring equipment safety.

In simple words, if you fix your John Deere tractor by replacing a broken module, then telling the tractor’s ECU that this part is now fixed is ok and legal. On the otherhand, programing the ECU to run without the broken module may run afoul of laws. It’s not something most farmers or ranchers need to be worried about, but large aftermarket tractor repair shops should be careful as they don’t want to be sued!

Why it became legal to repair a John Deere Tractor based on our legal understanding:

  • As of 2023, many equipment owners have gained the right to repair their machines due to agreements like the one between the American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere.
  • The “Right to Repair Act” enacted in some US states, like New York and Massachusetts, has paved the way for equipment owners to choose independent repair services over authorized service facilities.
  • An executive order signed by President Biden in 2021 emphasizes countrywide policy allowing customers to repair their own products in sectors including agriculture, further legitimizing the rights of farmers to repair equipment like John Deere tractors.
  • In 2023, John Deere signed an agreement with the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) that acknowledges farmers’ rights to repair their own machinery and grants them access to essential tools, software, and documentation. This partnership is a significant transition in John Deere’s relationship with farmers, allowing for more autonomy in repairing their equipment while also protecting John Deere’s intellectual property rights. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) addresses concerns on both sides and supports farmers during crucial farming seasons where delayed repairs could result in substantial financial losses.

Note: John Deere tractors are generally reliable and don’t need to be repaired too frequently. However there are common problems with their lawn tractors that need some consideration as an owner.

What are the potential consequences of illegally modifying the electronics of a John Deere tractor?

The potential consequences of illegally repairing the electronics of a John Deere tractor can include legal action and financial penalties. John Deere, like many other manufacturers, employs software locks and end-user license agreements to control who can access and repair their equipment. Violating these restrictions could result in copyright infringement claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In recent years, there have been instances where farmers faced lawsuits and fines for modifying or repairing their own tractors, highlighting the legal risks involved.

Thursday

19

September 2013

6

COMMENTS

Question: Is it illegal to quote someone without permission?

Written by , Posted in Copyright Law

Answer:
The answer is that it depends on the situation. It is always legal to quote an oral statement uttered by the speaker in public. Anything published in the United States prior to January 1, 1923 is in the public domain and no permission is needed. Additionally, anything published in the United States before January 1, 1964 for which the copyright has not been renewed is in the public domain.
For written works still protected by copyright an author may quote or paraphrase brief passages provided they are making “fair use” of the quoted material. What is fair use is based on a balancing test involving four separate factors. The factors to be considered are:

    1)The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes and whether such use is “transformative” as opposed to merely “derivative”;
    2) The nature of the copyrighted work;
    3) The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
    4) The effect of the use on the existing or potential market value of the copyrighted work.

If one is using the quote for purposes other than scholarship or criticism permission may be necessary no matter how short the quoted portion of the work is.

[CONTACT THE ATTORNEY WHO ANSWERED THIS QUESTION]