In the last week of 2023, the New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement. The allegations in the complaint go to the core of how generative AI works and could shape the manner in which AI works going forward.
Generative AI has had a transformative impact on text and visual arts. While the AI’s ability to mimic artistic styles raises copyright concerns, does this constitutes “copying”? How will the definition of artistic talent evolve in the AI era?
The PM-EAC has recommended reforms to India’s patent system that primarily involved ramping up the work force (from about 800 to 2800 in a couple of years) and also introducing the utility system of patents as appropriate. I suggest we go a bit further and try and tweak the term of patent so that it is more appropriate for the invention being protected. So 20 years for pharma but no more than 5 for tech patents that in any event evolve to the next generation within that time.
Intellectual property boundaries are being streteched with companies claiming exclusive rights over specific colors and the extension of copyright terms. Its time for a re-evaluation of how intangible property is protected, given modern technologies and commercial realities.
There is a parallel between the use of barbed wire in the American prairies to establish property rights and the modern challenge of protecting intangible assets like intellectual property. Barbed wire allowed landowners to enforce title by fencing off land instead of branding ownership onto cattle. Decentralized technologies, such as blockchain, could transform the way intangible assets are protected, just like erecting fences around real estate, made it inherently resistant to trespass.