Copyright Agency position on artificial intelligence (AI)

November 7, 2023

Australia’s current copyright system facilitates AI developments that deliver economic and societal benefits for Australia, in a framework of ethical policies and practices.

Australian governments should require AI developers to disclose the content that they are using in connection with AI. Among other things, this will assist copyright licensing.

Australia’s copyright system facilitates innovation

Australia’s copyright system is designed to encourage investment in innovation, including innovation that draws upon content created by other people. Copyright Agency and its members acknowledge the enormous potential for AI to deliver economic and societal benefits, including in the education, government, business and not-for-profit sectors. We want to help that potential to be realised, by enabling the use of content in an efficient but fair way.

Why Australia’s copyright system works well

Australia’s National Cultural Policy commits to maintaining strong copyright framework for Australia. Our copyright framework works well because it is:

  • world-leading: with elements that facilitate AI development with fair arrangements for the use of creative content, particularly in the government and education sectors.
  • a significant contributor to the economy: in 2018, the sectors supported by the copyright system (directly and indirectly) generated economic value of $124bn and employed more than a million people
  • flexible: allowing for the realisation of AI benefits for Australia, including investment in Australian-based innovation projects, without compromising support for, and the benefits of, Australia’s creative industries
  • fair: its settings support safe, responsible and ethical practices

AI developments are moving really fast

Things are moving quickly, and the AI world will look very different in the near future. Emerging developments include:

  • many ‘layers’ of AI development, including ‘fine-tuning’ for specialist, ethically-sourced datasets (e.g. for health or education)
  • no evidence that weakening copyright systems attracts investment in local innovation and jobs

What should Australian governments do?

  • require AI developers to disclose the content they are using
  • require people publishing content generated by AI to disclose that fact
  • facilitate and encourage the ethical and fair use of creative content for AI development in Australia, including via existing copyright licensing arrangements
  • ensure that its policies and practices align with the National Cultural Policy, including its commitments to First Nations people
  • demonstrate best practice in its own AI developments, including by fairly compensating content creators
  • resist lobbying to weaken Australia’s copyright framework on the false promise that this will benefit Australian society
  • require companies that offer AI services in Australia to compensate Australian creators and publishers for the unlicensed use of their content in the development of those services