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【Column by Lawyer Lan】AI, NFT, Metaverse: Copyright Ownership Issues and Legal Disputes in Digital Art

【Column by Lawyer Lan】AI, NFT, Metaverse: Copyright Ownership Issues and Legal Disputes in Digital Art

This article focuses on the controversial issues surrounding technological art in the legal field. By examining the steps and structure of the creative process, the author analyzes the legal nature of technological art, offers guidance on exercising associated rights, and discusses the application of reasonable regulations.

全文中文版:【蘭天律師專欄】AI、NFT、元宇宙:數位藝術的著作權歸屬與法律爭議

The introduction of intelligent robots, AI speech systems, big data, algorithms, and other technological advancements that share or replace human labor in our modern lives has led to an ongoing debate across many sectors about whether there is a need for special legislation to regulate the metaverse and virtual world. This article focuses on the controversial issues surrounding technological art in the legal field. By examining the steps and structure of the creative process, the author analyzes the legal nature of technological art, offers guidance on exercising associated rights, and discusses the application of reasonable regulations. 

HUANG SHIU-LAN, January 3, 2023

Introduction   

The pace of technological advancement in the 21st century is astounding. We see intelligent robots, AI speech systems, big data, algorithms, and other technological advancements that share or replace human labor in our lives being introduced into our modern lives. In recent years, our traditional mind of creativity has been shaken by the creation of AI music/painting/dance artworks in various forms and media such as NFT, metaverse, and VR/AR, which has posed a serious challenge to the definition of intellectual property rights and legal opinions, and has sparked no end of discussion among legislators, courts, and scholars around the world these days.

In addition to recognizing the legal nature of the emerging issues and considering their resolution, stakeholders are also debating whether there is a need to enact a special legislation to regulate the metaverse and virtual world. This article focuses on the controversial issues surrounding technological art in the legal field. By examining the steps and structure of the creative process, the author analyzes the legal nature of technological art, offers guidance on exercising associated rights, and discusses the application of reasonable regulations.

Can AI Be a Copyright Holder?

When discussing the issue of artificial intelligence creations, it is essential to first address AI-generated works. Under current copyright laws globally, only creations resulting from human authorship qualify for copyright protection. This raises the question of whether the rights to AI-generated works should be vested in the AI machine or the human.

Technological artists are questioning whether AI can possess authorship and become a copyright holder in artistic creation. This issue is being debated globally, with opposing views and arguments being presented by both sides. In summary, the prevailing view worldwide is to deny AI’s authorship, as maintaining that only humans can be copyright holders aligns more closely with the trajectory of cultural progress and respect for artistic value.

In conclusion, when AI is used as a tool in the creative process and is directed and deeply involved with human participation, the work should be considered a product of human intellectual activity. In this case, the individual who takes the lead in the creation should be regarded as the copyright holder of the AI-generated work. However, if the AI-generated content is simply the result of mechanical collection, statistics, generalization, and computation, the information or content produced by AI should not be protected by copyright due to the absence of human abstract mental thought.

One prevailing view, upheld by the U.S. Federal Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, is that the author is the “person” who actually creates the work, and that the creator is entitled to copyright protection when the concept is fixed in a tangible medium as an original expression. In Japan and the European Union, there is a trend towards exploring specific legislative solutions to provide copyright protection for AI-generated works [1].

The Taiwan Intellectual Property  Office, Ministry of Economic Affairs made the following statement: Copyrighted work can only be created by a natural person or legal entity who is entitled to exercise rights and obligations… Since AI is neither a natural person nor a legal entity, AI-generated creations are not works protected by copyright law, and in principle, AI cannot enjoy copyright. However, if such experience results from the creative participation of a natural person or legal entity, and the input of machine analysis is a purely mechanical operation, then the participating natural person or legal entity may claim copyright in such expression.  (TIPO’s Email No. 1070420)

The Taiwan Intellectual Property Court has also established this principle in its judgment: Since the results in question are obtained through computer software based on mathematical calculations with the input of parameters, and are not “human” creations, they cannot qualify as the subject matter of copyright protection. (Civil Judgement 98 Min-Zhu-Shang-Tzu 16)

1. Does Copyright Subsist in the AI-assisted Screenplay?

In the international film and television industry, we observe that copyright protection is granted to machine-generated scripts or films based on information collected and organized from big data, then written or edited by machines. However, the copyright holder of the work remains the screenwriter or the production company. It’s important to note that scripts often contain emotions and feelings, portraying the evolution of human characters – a task that AI is not yet capable of. Consequently, screenwriters are needed to translate human nature into words using their literary skills. Therefore, human beings continue to be the primary focus of copyright law, as this legislation is designed to protect works created by people with flesh, blood, and souls.

While AI-generated scripts are not protected by law, if the company or scriptwriter who invested in or directed the machine asserts their rights, their copyright in the literary works of the script will still be safeguarded by copyright law.

2. Originality of the Big Data-assisted Script

For example, during the screenplay development phase of the TV drama “The World Between Us (我們與惡的距離),” the Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation (“PTS”)collaborated with the Institute for Information Industry (III) to conduct a statistical analysis of big data from social networking sites in 2016. The team collected keywords that appeared over nearly a year from two social media platforms, Facebook and PTT. From the 40,000 entries they gathered, they filtered the data into 18,000 datasets using keywords, and then categorized the data by relevant events, issues, and people. Ultimately, the outcome of online public opinion served as a formula for inspiration and reference.

TV writer Lu Shih-yuan (呂蒔媛) conducted field research, interviewing approximately 40 people, including judges, lawyers, legislators, psychiatrists, journalists, social workers, patients with psychosis, and their families. The writer also referred to the court verdicts and related books, using all the materials as the basis for her scriptwriting in 2017. With the involvement of big data in the script development of TV dramas, does the writer’s script of the literary work still retain originality? We would like to examine this more closely.

The Taiwan Intellectual Property Court has held that the “originality” of a work means that the work is “original” and “creative,” and the creator whose work meets these requirements may enjoy copyright protection. “Being original” refers to an independently created work that has not been copied from others. “Being creative” means that, based on common social opinion, such work is distinguishable from pre-existing works, and it possesses positive elements of specific content and creative expression, which showcase the author’s personality or thoughts. See Intellectual Property Court Civil Judgement 110 Min-Zhu-Tzu 18, Taiwan Supreme Court Judgement Civil Judgement Tai-Shang-Tus 303.

The TV crew for “The World Between Us” provided the screenwriter with excellent source material by analyzing large amounts of data collected through online platforms and categorized by social events, issues, and people. The screenwriter recognizes that being buried in statistics cannot adequately convey how the characters feel the drama, but personal interviews can. With reference to the big data and materials from her field research, she selected some elements, including the people, the incident, the time, the place, and other things, from several social news stories. She reshaped the personalities of her characters and set the background. This TV script is an independent adaptation and creation, commissioned to DaMou Entertainment for filming and production.

The social issue that the scriptwriter and the producer want to bring to the attention of the public has its uniqueness and originality. This meets the definition of “originality” of a work recognized by the Intellectual Property Court. Therefore, with respect to copyright law, we can determine that originality exists in the TV series “The World Between Us” aired in 2019, and PTS is the copyright holder of the screenplay and the series.

3. The Ownership of Copyright in the AI-created or AI-performed Musical Work

In recent years, there have been Taiwanese AI works that combine musical composition and performance art. One example is the NTHU AIO (清華大學AI樂團), which was founded in 2019 and premiered the AI-composed musical work the following year. Their performance featured both real human orchestra and virtual singers, with the stage images projected by the AI-generated musical score and AI-powered accompaniment. Since the AI composition is still sourced and controlled by the orchestra, the musical copyright remains with the orchestra, in accordance with the spirit of copyright law.

We can also see other demonstration of AI composition in Europe. In 2019, Matthias Röder, the director of the Karajan Institute in Austria, “finished” the incomplete melodies left by the musician Beethoven after his death. This was done by the AI engineers, musicologists and performers who worked together to sort through Beethoven’s notes for his Symphony No.10, piecing together his ideas and attempting to classify the existing sections by movement.

To achieve this feat, the team not only had the AI learn Beethoven’s creative process through the works and sketches he left behind when he passed away but also taught the AI how to construct the musical form, develop the melody, and orchestrate by assigning different instruments. “Beethoven and AI: Symphony No.10 ” was publicly presented in Beethoven’s hometown of Bonn, Germany, on October 9, 2021, and premiered in Asia by the Tsinghua University AI Orchestra in March 2022. [2]

The completion of Symphony No.10 is based on Beethoven’s compositional model and manuscript, so it should be a Beethoven work. However, without the cooperation of modern music teams and AI, it would be difficult to compose a symphony in Beethoven’s style. Therefore, the team members should also be considered contributors, and their share of authorship should be higher than that of Beethoven (i.e., his descendants, who own the copyright to his works))to reflect the team members’ actual contribution to the creation.

“Beethoven and AI: Symphony No.10 ” ©NTHU AIO

4. Robot -performed Dance

Artiest Wang Lien-cheng’s (王連晟) “Scenery of Little Light (無光風景)” is centered around a blind lady. Wang’s play utilizes the technology to design a robot and give it the role of a male butler, in order to explore the oppressive situation of women in society. Wang uses a wearable device to digitize the dancer’s body movement path, which was translated to control the stage equipment, and on the other hand, the butler robot responds to the dancer’s commands through her facial recognition. This suspicious and dynamic performance, brought together by dance, drama and technology, was premiered at National Taichung Theater in 2020. [3]

The dance between the robot and the dancer is one of the highlights of “Scenery of Little Light”. Considering that the robot is controlled by the artist’s program and its movements are all designed by the artist, and that the robot is not allowed to copyright artwork, the copyright surely remains with the artist.

5. Classic Painting Made by Algorithms

The Europeans’ project “ The Next Rembrandt” serves as a great example of reproducing the work of deceased artists. In 2016, Microsoft, Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology, Hague’s Mauritshuis Museum and the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam collaborated to create a “new work” in the style of the Netherlands’ most iconic artist in the 17th century, Rembrandt. The portrait is based on Rembrandt’s style from 1632 to 1642; it depicts a man in his thirties, bearded, wearing a black coat with a white collar and a hat, facing the right.

The process of creating this “new work” includes analyzing approximately 170,000 fragments of Rembrandt’s paintings; researching Rembrandt’s most common themes, content, and styles; using deep learning to draw conclusions from big data; developing two algorithms to place the layers of canvas and paint; using special algorithms to measure the distance between facial features; calculating the percentage of the distance; transforming, rotating, and deforming the features; and then accurately assembling these features on the face.

In the end, the team spent more than 500 hours on the calculations. Among the computational activities, the team projected the shading effects on each feature based on the lighting information collected from the painting. When printing the painting, the team used a 3D printer to print thirteen layers of special paint-based UV ink to bring a piece of brand-new artwork to life. [4]

Rembrandt’s “new work” made through AI learning. (taken from The Next Rembrandt film)

Does the “new work” in the style of Rembrandt’s painting give rise to the issue of artistic copyright? Do Microsoft, the museum and other co-producers have any rights to it?

We know that this new painting took the team-art historians, software developers, scientists, engineers, and data analysts – 18 months of hard work. Despite their attempt to make their painting adhere to Rembrandt’s approach and artistic style, their originality is evident in the innovative technology and artistic achievement, which gave this painting the character of an artistic work.

Meanwhile, any contribution made by each of the co-producers should be inseparable. In this way, the co-producers should jointly own the artistic copyright; alternatively, the team can transfer its right to the client, who can then acquire ownership at the same time.

The Copyright and Licensing of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT

NFT minting and issuance is one of the aspects of cultural and creative IP development. Thanks to blockchain technology, artworks such as paintings, music, videos, games, along with details such as author’s name, artwork title, content, icon, creation time, transaction records, and owner information, are recorded and traded as NFTs on the blockchain using smart contracts, and NFTs serve as digital identifiers or proofs of ownership for virtual goods. For example, in February 2022, a series of NFTs featuring the character “Su Huan-Jen (素還真)” from the Taiwanese puppet series Pili Fantasy was released worldwide and received rave reviews from fans – not surprisingly, the NFTs were sold out immediately upon release.

1. NFT buyer’s Right

NFT works can cover all kinds of works, including artistic works, photographic works, audiovisual works and audio works, etc. After purchasing the NFT of the artwork, can the NFT holder adapt or develop the artwork to create more IP rights?

Consumers often think that their purchased NFTs are available for all kinds of uses – in many cases, this is a misunderstanding. In general, NFT holders acquire only the exclusive numbering or labeling of the represented digital assets, not the copyright or ownership of the artwork. Holders’ NFT may only be displayed and transferred online.  Any further use of the NFT is subject to the terms of the commercial license that accompanies the NFT work.

Although the NFT business model is still evolving and changing, we can analyze the legal relationships involved in the production and distribution of NFT. As consumers who pay for NFT, they are marked as owners of NFT and are entitled to resell NFT to others. When an NFT is issued, a smart contract is programmed with the specific licensing term. So, the act of paying for the NFT implies the customer’s agreement to the terms of the license, creating a legally binding effect on the parties that the NFT holder is only authorized to use the NFT within a specified scope.

For example, under the terms of the NFT license for its Bluebird GIF, “Twitter grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, worldwide license to use, perform and/or display the NFT artwork and trademark solely for the NFT holder’s personal, non-commercial purposes.

2. Distribution Contract’s Exclusion Clause for Music NFTs

Music NFTs have become eye-watering in the creative arts industry. Examples include the music video NFTs of Jay Chou’s (周杰倫)”The Greatest Work (最偉大的作品),” which were minted on the NFT marketplace platform “Open Sea” in 2022, and the music NFTs of Ye Qi-tian’s “Work Hard for being a Winner (愛拼才會贏),” which were also released on Open Sea in January 2022. But what kind of license is required to produce and distribute music NFTs? If the artist has signed with a record company to license the exclusive right to distribute the music, can the artist still create and sell the NFT music for his or her single? Conversations around these practical questions are constantly happening in the music industry.

From a copyright perspective, the production and digital distribution of music NFT requires a license for reproduction and public transmission. Therefore, before offering the sale of music NFTs, artists must ensure certain exclusions in their distribution agreement. This is because the artist has granted the record label the right to exclusive worldwide distribution of the songs the artist has recorded and owns the copyright to, for the duration of the contract.

The exclusive license has a legally binding effect that restricts the artist from other uses without the consent of the record label. Since the release of music NFTs is considered a reproduction of the song, which cannot be done without the license or permission of the record label. That is why we have an exclusion clause as an amendment to the distribution contract with the record company to deal with this issue in a practical way.

A sample clause is provided as follows:

(Party A: the Record Label, Party B: the artist/ songwriter):
Party A agrees that Party B may use the Song herein this Agreement (the “Licensed Property”) for promotional purposes on Party B’s official website, digital platform channels (YouTube), social networking sites, etc., or in the form of Non-Fungible Token (NFT) or metaverse.

Party A and Party B agree that the commercial or non-commercial use in the form of NFT or Metaverse may be agreed upon by Party B and the third party; provided, however, content in such agreement shall not affect Party A’s rights with respect to the Licensed Property as authorized under this Agreement.

3. Copyright Infringement Cases in Image NFTs

In 2022, China saw its first court ruling on NFT infringement. At the center of this case is an animated artwork called “Fat Tiger”, which is created by well-known artist Ma Qian-li(pen name: Bu2ma / 不二馬)and featured in many animation series such as “Downhill Fat Tiger (胖虎下山)” and “I’m not Fat Tiger(我不是胖虎)” as a Siberian tiger. Mr. Ma granted Shenzhen Qice Diechu Culture Creation Co., Ltd (”Qice”)(奇策公司) the exclusive global copyright to “Fat Tiger” series work and the right to protect its licensee’s right, and accordingly, a copyright license agreement was duly signed by both parties.

Later, Qice found that the NFTs based on the artwork “Fat Tiger Having His Shot (胖虎打疫苗)”  were minted and sold on the platform of the defendant(a technology company). This artwork is identical to the illustration work posted by Mr. Ma on Weibo, but in fact the NFT is not an item authorized for sale by Bu2ma.

 
 
 
 
 
在 Instagram 查看這則貼文
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

不二马大叔 bu2ma(@bu2ma_ins)分享的貼文

Therefore, Qice brought this copyright infringement to the Hangzhou Internet Court and asked the court to order the defendant to stop the infringement, destroy or recall the NFTs minted on the blockchain, and pay RMB 100,000, representing the plaintiff’s economic losses and reasonable fees.

The case before the Hangzhou Internet Court is a dispute over NFT work for infringing the right to disseminate information via information network. During the trial, the defendant (Yuanyuzhou Technology 元宇宙公司, acting as a third-party platform)denied the claims on 3 grounds:

(1) As a third-party platform, the defendant was not responsible for the content posted or offered by its users on its platform.

(2) The defendant’s reasonable duty of care was to conduct an after-the-fact review. As the defendant has blocked the user in question and fulfilled its duty to delete works upon notification, it is no longer necessary to request to stop infringement.

(3) Under applicable law, the defendant is not required to disclose the specific blockchain, the exact location of the NFTs in question on that blockchain, and what is written in the relevant smart contract applied to the NFTs in question.

The judge issued his verdict on the same day right after the trial on April 20, 2022, ruling that the defendant had infringed the plaintiff’s right to disseminate information over the information network for the artwork “Fat Tiger Having His Shot”. The ruling ordered the defendant to immediately remove the released NFTs on its platform and compensate RMB 4,000 as Qice ‘s economic losses and reasonable fees. According to Judgment (2022) Zhe 0192 Minchu No. 1008, we know the court came to the decision based on the following reasons:

(1)  The minting and trading of NFT include the three actions of reproduction, sale and information network dissemination of the digital works.  The legal effect arising from the NFT transaction is the transfer of the property right and the execution of the smart contract, which enables the public to obtain the NFT work at the selected time and place, so the NFT transaction meets the characteristics of information network communication behavior.  

(2) The transfer of property right is the legal effect of the NFT transaction model. Accordingly, the maker(seller)of NFT should be the owner of the original or copy of the work.  At the same time, according to the relevant provisions of the Copyright Law, when the original or copy of the work is transferred as an object, the ownership is transferred, but the copyright of the work is not changed.

Under the NFT trading model, the NFT work transaction falls under the reproduction of the work and the transmission of information on the Internet; therefore, the maker of NFT digital works(the seller) should not only be the owner of the copy of the work, but also the copyright owner or licensor of the digital work, otherwise it will infringe the copyright of others.

(3) Based on the foregoing, the platform should take reasonable measures to prevent infringement by verifying the legality and authenticity of the source of the work and confirming that the NFT maker has the appropriate rights or license to engage in this act.

As the defendant is found to be subjectively at fault and failed to perform its examination duty, and the defendant’s action actually constitutes the facilitation of infringement, the defendant should be liable for the damages. [5]

4. NFT Infringement in TV and Movie Industry

Courts around the world have recognized the rights associated with digital asset NFTs. Infringement cases involving NFTs have also been filed in the film and television industries. [6] One of the most high-profile cases is the lawsuit over the Pulp Fiction screenplay. The case originated from a 1993 agreement between distributor Miramax and director Quentin Tarantino, in which Miramax acquired the majority of the film’s copyrights and Tarantino only reserved a limited set of rights for himself in connection with the screenplay.

Quentin Tarantino and his “Black Pursuit” poster. @wikipedia

After 28 years, the director planned to release the NFTs based on this screenplay. In the early November of 2021, on the platform Open Sea, Tarantino created seven NFTs which contain seven never-before-seen scenes from Pulp Fiction, uncut first handwritten scripts from the film and his exclusive custom commentary. [7] The production company Miramax then filed suit in court on November 16, 2021 to stop the director’s sale of NFT.

Do Tarantino’s reserved rights to publish the screenplay of Pulp Fiction include the rights to create and release NFTs? Does Tarantino’s sale of NFTs depend on the production company’s authorization? Both sides remained steadfast in their arguments.

What are the claims of the plaintiff, the production company Miramax, based on? First, Miramax alleges that Tarantino infringed its copyright in the film and screenplay and breached the contract by creating and selling the NFTs made from the screenplay. Second, citing the 1993 agreement that the production company is granted the right to distribute Pulp Fiction in all media now or hereafter known, Miramax contends that there is no doubt that it owns the right to sell screenplay NFTs and that no one but Miramax can legally mint the NFTs associated with that film. [8]

In court, the defendant Tarantino insisted there was no infringement. According to the 1993 agreement between Tarantino and Miramax for Pulp Fiction, the director retained certain rights to this movie, such as sound album, music publishing, live performance, and print publication(including the screenplay, “making of” books, comic books, novels and audio books), interactive media, theatrical and television sequel and remake rights, television series and spinoff rights, as well as the publishing right.

Since the NFT was not something that existed in the time and space of the contractual background, the director, as the author of the screenplay, should remain the right holder of “the rights not transferred to the third party”, which of course, includes the right to mint the NFT.

To analyze this case from the perspective of law, we can reference the provision in paragraph 3, Article 36 of Taiwan’s Copyright Act, “The transferee of economic rights obtains economic rights within the scope of the transfer. The scope of the transfer of the economic rights shall be as stipulated by the parties; rights not clearly covered by such stipulations shall be presumed to have not been transferred.” Also, we can look at the common principles for the protection of creators and rights holders under international conventions or under the copyright laws of many countries. That is, we should restrictively interpret what right has been transferred to a third party from the author. This means that the rights should be retained by the original author unless they are explicitly assigned to the third party.

In the meantime, we see that the director owns the handwritten scripts of the movie, and the never-before-seen scenes along with the director’s exclusive custom commentary were not included in the transferred property in the 1993 agreement; based on this analysis, it can be concluded that the defendant can legally mint NFTs without infringing copyrights or breaching the contract, and the plaintiff’s argument is rather weak. Last but not the least, according to media reports, this Miramax vs. Tarantino case has been settled before trial and the plaintiff has withdrawn the case. [9]

Does Metaverse Need Legal Framework?

When people in the metaverse buy land, play games, live their lives, do their work, create works of art, or even commit crimes or violate the rights of others, how should their legal relationships be regulated? Do we need a special law for the metaverse? Considering that in the real world we have an almost complete legal landscape, if we decide to create new rules that apply specifically to the metaverse, we will face not only a massive legislative task, but also a dilemma when the special legal framework applicable to the metaverse is completed, as the conflicts of two world rules may arise and no one knows which one to follow.

Not to mention that it is the same person doing the activities – just changing domains between the metaverse and the real world. If we set up two different legal systems, and we will have double legal effects, how exactly should law enforcement agencies implement such laws? And if a person is tried or punished twice for the same criminal conduct, that would l violate the basic principle of criminal law.

A similar debate arose when virtual currency appeared in Taiwan’s financial market. The majority opinion was that the legislature should enact a special law to regulate the market in order to prevent the disruption of the financial currency system and trading activities.

Nevertheless, Taiwan’s lawmakers did not enact new laws; then, in September 2021, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) promulgated the “Regulations Governing Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism for Enterprises Handling Virtual Currency,” which provided a clear definition of virtual currency – a digital representation of value with the use of cryptography and distributed ledger technology or other similar technology that can be digitally stored, exchanged, or transferred, and can be used for payment or investment purposes.

Meanwhile, in order to regulate virtual currency, FSC’s regulation also requires to identifying the identity of the beneficial owner, obliges the platform to confirm the identity of the customer and reject the customer who uses a fake name or a nominee to initiate or maintain the business relationship.

As a result, we should also be able to apply a similar legal approach to activities in the metaverse. That is, the regulation of the real world can apply to metaverse activities as long as the metaverse activities have established the relationship to the real world. There is no need for a new legal framework. Under Taiwan’s current copyright law, there is no difficulty in recognizing an artist as the copyright holder of his or her artwork created in the metaverse, or in licensing or transferring his or her right to the artwork, whether it is a painting, a song or lyrics, a movie, a screenplay, or a concert.

In short, in order to provide corresponding legal protection for transactions, games, work, social status, and property in the metaverse, when the real world approaches the metaverse by changing the real identity to the virtual avatar, we should establish a set of obligations to check and verify the virtual identity with the existing regulation in the real world, and further clarify the rights and obligations. A model clause can be used as a reference to establish the relationship with the real world:

“When participating in metaverse activities, the user is required to provide the information necessary for identification and verification of identity, including the natural person’s name, number of official identification document, date of birth, nationality, or the identity information of the natural person who exercises ultimate control over a legal entity. If the user provides fake name for the above-mentioned information, the user may be denied his or her access to transactions or activities, and his or her activities may not be protected by the real world’s laws and regulations.”

Conclusion

A work created with the AI tool that also contains the result of human creation still qualifies for copyright protection, and current legal frameworks around the world assign copyright to the person who leads the creation, but do not allow the AI to be considered the owner.

In memory of the classical masterpieces of musicians or painters, museums around the world are dedicated to recreating the creative styles of deceased artists, such as Beethoven and Rembrandt, through big data analysis. And if an AI-generated new work is found with originality, it should be protected by copyright law, and the copyright of the new work should be invested in the museum or production team that leads the creation.

NFTs have become a hot topic in art circles and have gained popularity among customers. NFT buyers should be aware that they only have a license to use the underlying work and do not own the copyright; meanwhile, they are subject to the terms of the license and the smart contract. Anyone wishing to develop IP for NFT images or music must still obtain the consent of the NFT copyright holder for the underlying pictorial, graphical, literary, musical or artistic works. The NFT platform, which collects a percentage of fees for each transaction of NFT works released on its platform, should fulfill its obligation to protect intellectual property rights. Once an NFT is found to be plagiarized and infringing, the NFT platform should remove the work to mitigate the legal risk of facilitating infringement.

Since it makes no difference to ordinary participants whether they use their nicknames, aliases, accounts, and other avatars in a virtual community over the Internet or in the real world, participants in the metaverse should provide sufficient information to identify and verify their identities. This will allow us to regulate transactions and legal relationships in the metaverse and protect the rights of all parties involved.

In conclusion, in order to ensure the balance of rights and interests between creators and users, we must always stay within the confines of the law as we adapt to the rapid pace and new landscapes of technological advances in the arts.


Footnote
[1] To analyze AI-copyright issue further, please see Chen Jian-Yo, Legal Analysis of AI-copyright: the ownership of copyright in AI-generated works, Part 3, 29 October 2019.
[2] Samuel, AI Completed Beethoven’s last piece – Symphony No.10 , 6 October 2021. Central News Agency, NTHU AIO Premiered Symphony No.10 in honor of Beethoven, 25 March 2022.
[3] National Taichung Theater’s official website, 2020 NNT-TIFA Artist-in-Residence Artiest Wang Lien-cheng’s “Scenery of Little Light”, 17 May 2020.
[4] Culture X Technology, The Next Rembrandt, 22 August 2016. 
[5] Vincent Lai, Infringement Claim Against “Fat Tiger Having His Shot” NFT – Is the Platform Liable? , 30 April 2022.
[6] Chang Yo-Jia, Courts Worldwide Gradually Acknowledge Right in NFT Digit Asset, 17 June 2022.
[7] Joker, Miramax Suing Tarantino for Auctioning Never-before-seen Scenes from Pulp Fiction, 17 November 2021.
[8] Chang Shou-lu, Distributor Calls Tarantino Rude and Greedy and Will See Him in Court, 19 November 2021. Chen Jia-jun, What We See from NFT Copyright Infringement Case over Pulp Fiction and Miramax’s Motion to Compel, 29 June 2022.
[9] CNYes Taiwan, Tarantino and Miramax Settled Lawsuit over NFT Auction, 10 September 2022.

黃秀蘭(Huang Shiu-Lan)( 12篇 )

翰廷法律事務所主持律師,文創產業法律實務經驗豐富,擔任國家影視聽中心、創意設計/音樂/編劇/影像製作公司、唱片集團、知名導演長年法律顧問及文化部影視產業專業顧問。任教於國立臺北藝術大學及國立臺南藝術大學,講授【智慧財產權與合約談判】課程,出版《如何面對合約》系列法律著作,演講教學寫作不輟。