AI-Generated Texts Are as Works Protectable by Copyright

China has a new precedent: the Shenzhen Nanshan Court ruled for the first time in China that AI-generated texts in the form of articles are creative works and thus entitled to copyright protection. 

In the case, the plaintiff company Shenzhen Tencent Computer System published a financial article on its website entitled Lunch Review: Shanghai Index rose slightly by 0.11% to 2671.93 points led by telecommunications operations, oil production and other sectors. On the same day, the defendant company Shanghai Yingmou Technology also published an article identical in title and content to the plaintiff’s article. The plaintiff’s article was automatically written by Tencent AI Dreamwriter software.

The key to determining whether the article generated by the AI is a written work is to determine whether the text is original. In the court’s view, the outward appearance of the article complied with the formal requirements of written works and its content reflected the selection, analysis and assessment of stock information and data. It therefore met the legal requirements for a written work and possessed originality. The court also confirmed in this case that the article was the work of a legal entity.   

This case illustrates the steps involved in assessing the originality of an object generated by artificial intelligence and will be a reference for future judgments in similar cases. As China increasingly focuses on the development of AI, legal issues are also gaining in importance.     

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