Varie fonti notiziano circa la sentenza 18 agosto 2023 , caso n° 22-1564 (BAH) del tribunale di WEashington DC, Thaler v. SHIRA PERLMUTTER, che nega la tutela autorale a opera creata tramite intelligenza artificiale.
Si tratta della fase giudiziale successiva all’analogo rigetto amministrativo, su cui v. mio post 18.02.2022.
Ad es. v. questo link alla sentenza , offerto dal blog del prof. Eric Goldman
<<Copyright has never stretched so far, however, as to protect works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand, as plaintiff urges here. Human authorship is a bedrock requirement of copyright.
That principle follows from the plain text of the Copyright Act. The current incarnation of the copyright law, the Copyright Act of 1976, provides copyright protection to “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” 17 U.S.C. § 102(a). The “fixing” of the work in the tangible medium must be done “by or under the authority of the author.” Id. § 101. In order to be eligible for copyright, then, a work must have an “author.”
To be sure, as plaintiff points out, the critical word “author” is not defined in the Copyright Act. See Pl.’s Mem. at 24. “Author,” in its relevant sense, means “one that is the source of some form of intellectual or creative work,” “[t]he creator of an artistic work; a painter, photographer, filmmaker, etc.” Author, MERRIAM-WEBSTER UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY, https://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/unabridged/author (last visited Aug. 18, 2023); Author, OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY, https://www.oed.com/dictionary/author_n (last visited Aug. 10, 2023). By its plain text, the 1976 Act thus requires a copyrightable work to have an originator with the capacity for intellectual, creative, or artistic labor. Must that originator be a human being to claim copyright protection? The answer is yes.2
The 1976 Act’s “authorship” requirement as presumptively being human rests on centuries of settled understanding. The Constitution enables the enactment of copyright and patent law by granting Congress the authority to “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective
2 The issue of whether non-human sentient beings may be covered by “person” in the Copyright Act is only “fun conjecture for academics,” Justin Hughes, Restating Copyright Law’s Originality Requirement, 44 COLUMBIA J. L. & ARTS 383, 408–09 (2021), though useful in illuminating the purposes and limits of copyright protection as AI is increasingly employed. Nonetheless, delving into this debate is an unnecessary detour since “[t]he day sentient refugees from some intergalactic war arrive on Earth and are granted asylum in Iceland, copyright law will be the least of our problems.” Id. at 408.
writings and discoveries.” U.S. Const. art. 1, cl. 8. As James Madison explained, “[t]he utility of this power will scarcely be questioned,” for “[t]he public good fully coincides in both cases [of copyright and patent] with the claims of individuals.” THE FEDERALIST NO. 43 (James Madison). At the founding, both copyright and patent were conceived of as forms of property that the government was established to protect, and it was understood that recognizing exclusive rights in that property would further the public good by incentivizing individuals to create and invent. The act of human creation—and how to best encourage human individuals to engage in that creation, and thereby promote science and the useful arts—was thus central to American copyright from its very inception. Non-human actors need no incentivization with the promise of exclusive rights under United States law, and copyright was therefore not designed to reach them.
The understanding that “authorship” is synonymous with human creation has persisted even as the copyright law has otherwise evolved. The immediate precursor to the modern copyright law—the Copyright Act of 1909—explicitly provided that only a “person” could “secure copyright for his work” under the Act. Act of Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 320, §§ 9, 10, 35 Stat. 1075, 1077. Copyright under the 1909 Act was thus unambiguously limited to the works of human creators. There is absolutely no indication that Congress intended to effect any change to this longstanding requirement with the modern incarnation of the copyright law. To the contrary, the relevant congressional report indicates that in enacting the 1976 Act, Congress intended to incorporate the “original work of authorship” standard “without change” from the previous 1909 Act. See H.R. REP. NO. 94-1476, at 51 (1976).
The human authorship requirement has also been consistently recognized by the Supreme Court when called upon to interpret the copyright law. As already noted, in Sarony, the Court’s recognition of the copyrightability of a photograph rested on the fact that the human creator, not the camera, conceived of and designed the image and then used the camera to capture the image. See Sarony, 111 U.S. at 60. The photograph was “the product of [the photographer’s] intellectual invention,” and given “the nature of authorship,” was deemed “an original work of art . . . of which [the photographer] is the author.” Id. at 60–61. Similarly, in Mazer v. Stein, the Court delineated a prerequisite for copyrightability to be that a work “must be original, that is, the author’s tangible expression of his ideas.” 347 U.S. 201, 214 (1954). Goldstein v. California, too, defines “author” as “an ‘originator,’ ‘he to whom anything owes its origin,’” 412 U.S. at 561 (quoting Sarony, 111 U.S. at 58). In all these cases, authorship centers on acts of human creativity.
Accordingly, courts have uniformly declined to recognize copyright in works created absent any human involvement, even when, for example, the claimed author was divine. The Ninth Circuit, when confronted with a book “claimed to embody the words of celestial beings rather than human beings,” concluded that “some element of human creativity must have occurred in order for the Book to be copyrightable,” for “it is not creations of divine beings that the copyright laws were intended to protect.” Urantia Found. v. Kristen Maaherra, 114 F.3d 955, 958–59 (9th Cir. 1997) (finding that because the “members of the Contact Commission chose and formulated the specific questions asked” of the celestial beings, and then “select[ed] and arrange[d]” the resultant “revelations,” the Urantia Book was “at least partially the product of human creativity” and thus protected by copyright); see also Penguin Books U.S.A., Inc. v. New Christian Church of Full Endeavor, 96-cv-4126 (RWS), 2000 WL 1028634, at *2, 10–11 (S.D.N.Y. July 25, 2000) (finding a valid copyright where a woman had “filled nearly thirty stenographic notebooks with words she believed were dictated to her” by a “‘Voice’ which would speak to her whenever she was prepared to listen,” and who had worked with two human co-collaborators to revise and edit those notes into a book, a process which involved enough creativity to support human authorship); Oliver v. St. Germain Found., 41 F. Supp. 296, 297, 299 (S.D. Cal. 1941) (finding no copyright infringement where plaintiff claimed to have transcribed “letters” dictated to him by a spirit named Phylos the Thibetan, and defendant copied the same “spiritual world messages for recordation and use by the living” but was not charged with infringing plaintiff’s “style or arrangement” of those messages). Similarly, in Kelley v. Chicago Park District, the Seventh Circuit refused to “recognize copyright” in a cultivated garden, as doing so would “press too hard on the basic principle” that “[a]uthors of copyrightable works must be human.” 635 F.3d 290, 304–06 (7th Cir. 2011). The garden “ow[ed] [its] form to the forces of nature,” even if a human had originated the plan for the “initial arrangement of the plants,” and as such lay outside the bounds of copyright. Id. at 304. Finally, in Naruto v. Slater, the Ninth Circuit held that a crested macaque could not sue under the Copyright Act for the alleged infringement of photographs this monkey had taken of himself, for “all animals, since they are not human” lacked statutory standing under the Act. 888 F.3d 418, 420 (9th Cir. 2018). While resolving the case on standing grounds, rather than the copyrightability of the monkey’s work, the Naruto Court nonetheless had to consider whom the Copyright Act was designed to protect and, as with those courts confronted with the nature of authorship, concluded that only humans had standing, explaining that the terms used to describe who has rights under the Act, like “‘children,’ ‘grandchildren,’ ‘legitimate,’ ‘widow,’ and ‘widower[,]’ all imply humanity and necessarily exclude animals.” Id. at 426. Plaintiff can point to no case in which a court has recognized copyright in a work originating with a non-human>>.
Considerazioni che nella sostanza valgono anche per il nostro art. 6 l. aut.