Comments to Canada’s Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development on a Modern Copyright Framework for AI and the Internet of Things

Nigel Cory September 23, 2021
September 23, 2021

Intellectual property (IP) is based on the idea that those who combine the spark of imagination with the grit and determination to see their vision become reality in books, film, music, technology, medicines, designs, sculpture, services, and more deserve the opportunity to reap the benefits of their innovation—and that this reward incentivizes more creative output. In the past, IP law operated under the assumption that all creative works would be entirely created by people. However, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has raised the prospect that in the future a significant number of works may be created by an autonomous computer system without direct human involvement. Canadian policy should protect the principle on which IP law is based, whether the works are generated by people or computer systems.

ITIF welcomes Canada’s detailed and thoughtful review of copyright implications for AI and the Internet of Things. Central to Canada’s consideration of IP and AI should be a pragmatic and realistic understanding of AI and its capabilities. While AI systems can be increasingly autonomous and creative, they still have a considerable way to go before they achieve the sophistication that many people imagine. However, Canada should not create AI-specific requirements for activity that is already legal and being done through non-technical means.

ITIF’s submission focuses on two key recommendations:

  1. Canada should recognize and protect AI-generated IP and the need to assign ownership of AI-generated work to the person or organization that owns the AI system.
  2. Canada should allow all users—whether commercial or non-commercial—to use AI for text and data mining (TDM) so long as they have legal access to the material. There should be no additional, special approvals for the use of TDM tools. Canada should avoid making its copyright framework overly complicated in considering TDM-specific requirements and exceptions and instead ensure that the use of TDM is consistent with current IP law, whether this relates to infringement or licensing.