Guest lecture on Generative AI and IPR

Posted 4 months ago

Musico was invited to give a lecture in the course Intellectual Property Rights in the Digital Environment” for the students of the Advanced Master Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University on March 10, 2020.

The venue for the lecture was a so-called moot court, where law students practice in simulated court cases. Although there was nobody on trial, the aim of the lecture was to probe the limits of the current Intellectual Property Rights system in view of the rise of generative AI techniques (which is happening in all media, not just music).

In the first part of the lecture Valentijn Borghuis, Musico CRO, demonstrated the concept of real-time adaptive music generation and its possible applications. After explaining the basic ideas behind the use of deep learning to create artificial neural networks capable of generating music, and the use of such systems in music production, the stage was set for addressing the legal ramifications of generative AI.

This was done by Jan Smits (in picture) emeritus professor Law & Technology at Eindhoven University of Technology and Musico Legal advisor, who engaged in lively discussion with the students about questions of authorship (can an algorithm be an author?) and ownership (if a user creates a design with an algorithmic tool, is it his?). But also about issues regarding the proliferation of AI-produced materials that we can expect: does it make sense to have rights on a piece of music that was played once in a stream of adaptively generated music and will never be repeated in the same way again?

Lots of questions and, at the moment, very few answers. Musico is still developing its views on these issues, as a company working in generative AI we have to, but one fundamental decision has already been taken: we will not be claiming any rights on music generated with our engines. We think of the engines as musical instruments. What you “play” on them is not our property, just as it wouldn’t be for the manufacturer of a piano or a guitar.


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