Document Type


Publication Date



This paper analyses the copyright issues related to so-called “generative AI” systems and reviews the arguments currently advanced to change the copyright regime for AI-generated works from a human rights perspective. It argues that because of the applicable human rights framework for copyright but also the anthropocentric approach of human rights the protection of creators and human creativity must be considered the point of reference when assessing future reforms with regard to copyright and generative AI systems. Consequently, the copyrightability of AI-generated outputs should be considered with utmost care and only when AI is used as a technical tool for creators in their creation process- meaning when they serve a human author. A human rights analysis reinforces that copyright should be a tool to protect creativity and creators, not a legal mechanism to secure the amortization of economic investments in AI technology.

With regard to the input, the right to train generative AI systems via machine learning technology can be derived from the right to science and culture and freedom of (artistic) expression as AI can lead to useful advancements in science and arts; moreover, it is important for human creators to be able to use outputs produced by generative AI in their creative process. At the same time, it follows from the right to the protection of moral and material interests of the creator that authors must be adequately remunerated for the commercial use of their works unless there is a strong justification legitimizing the use. For this reason, it is proposed that the machine learning process using copyright-protected works to train the AI gives rise to a limitation-based remuneration right to the benefit of human creators. The paper also briefly explores if and when the moral interest of creators deriving from human rights protection could justify that they oppose the use of their work for training purposes of AI systems.

The paper concludes that a human rights analysis secures an ethical approach to copyright issues of generative AI so that these systems serve creators and creativity, and not the other way around.