Copyright (c) Tulane University 1997.
Tulane Law Review
ARTICLE: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN THE ERA OF THE CREATIVE COMPUTER PROGRAM: WILL THE TRUE CREATOR PLEASE STAND UP?
71 Tul. L. Rev. 1675
Ralph D. Clifford *
Throughout most of history, the worldly source of creativity has been assumed to be the human being. 1 When contemplating the creative, images of Beethoven, Joyce, and Monet come to mind, not images of machinery. This belief has led the major federal intellectual property laws associated with creative activities - copyrights and patents - to assume that the creator of the work being protected is human. 2
Recent developments in computer technology, however, challenge the assumption that humans are always the source of creative works. A computer scientist named Stephen Thaler, using a system known as a neural network, has enabled a computer to create artistic and inventive works. 3 Importantly, this computer system, termed a Creativity Machine by its inventor, 4 is demonstrating skills that Dr. Thaler himself does not possess. 5 Nevertheless, the inventor claims that federal intellectual property law protects the computer's creations and that he is the owner of the rights. 6 If his claim is accepted, this computer invention will challenge the fundamental assumption upon which federal intellectual property laws have been predicated - that humans are the source of creative works. The purpose of this Article, therefore, is to examine whether works created by an autonomously creative computer program qualify for federal intellectual property protection.
The next section will briefly describe the operational characteristics of the Creativity Machine. Part III will analyze the consequences of the invention under current federal intellectual property law. Finally, Part IV ...
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