Canada launches public consultation on Generative AI and Copyright Law

On October 12, 2023, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and its Minister of Canadian Heritage launched a public consultation on the implications of generative artificial intelligence (AI) for Canadian copyright law and the rights of copyright holders. 

The deadline to submit feedback online is December 4, 2023.  The feedback will inform copyright policy development. An update on the consultation findings is expected to follow in 2024.

Policy Areas Being Explored

In 2021, the Government of Canada launched its Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things in which it sought feedback on, among other things, three copyright policy areas related to AI. In light of the recent proliferation and widespread public use of generative AI systems, the federal government is revisiting those three policy areas, which are outlined in the consultation paper as follows: 

  1. Text and data mining (TDM) - i.e., whether any clarification is needed on how the copyright framework applies to the use of copyright-protected works and other subject matter (e.g., a performance or sound recording) in the training of AI systems;
  2. Authorship and ownership of works generated by AI - i.e., how the copyright framework should apply to AI-assisted and AI-generated works; and
  3. Infringement and liability regarding AI - e.g., who are the persons liable when AI-generated works infringe copyright-protected work. 
Through this consultation, and in considering possible copyright policy options, the federal government states that it intends to balance two main objectives: 
  1. To support innovation and investment in AI and other digital and emerging technologies in all sectors in Canada. According to the federal government, AI has tremendous potential for society if used ethically and responsibly, and could also drive productivity growth across the economy.
  2. To support Canada's creative industries and preserve the incentive to create and invest provided by the rights set out in the Canadian Copyright Act, including the rights of artists to be adequately remunerated for the use of their works or other copyright subject matter.

As noted by the Minister of Canadian Heritage: “Canada’s authors, musicians and artists are asking important questions about how to protect their work as generative AI evolves. These consultations are one step towards leveraging AI to improve our lives, while ensuring that human creativity and innovation continue to thrive.”

More details regarding the consultation, including the three policy areas that are being addressed, can be found in the consultation paper

Looking Forward

For further information concerning the consultation or how to submit feedback, please contact any member of our Entertainment Law Group.

The author would like to thank Noor Sakran, Articling Student-At-Law, for her assistance in writing this Update.