For more than a quarter century, interest among copyright scholars in the question of AI authorship has waxed and waned as the popular conversation about AI has oscillated between exaggerated predictions for its future and premature pronouncements of its death. For policymakers, the issue has sat on the horizon, always within view but never actually pressing. To recognize this fact, however, is not to say that we can or should ignore the challenge that AI authorship presents to copyright law’s underlying assumptions about creativity. On the contrary, the relatively slow development of AI offers a reprieve from the reactive, crisis-driven model of policymaking that has dominated copyright law in the digital era.
By engaging and extending insights from two relatively discrete lines of existing scholarship—the postmodern critique of romantic authorship and the more pragmatic literature on copyright in works produced with the aid of computers—this Article seeks to answer the vexing copyright questions that attend the artificially intelligent production of cultural works. It does so by developing the argument that all creativity is inherently algorithmic and that works produced autonomously by computers are therefore less heterogeneous to both their human counterparts and existing copyright doctrine than appearances may at first suggest.