​Aesthetics and copyright law facing AI generated literature

In 1967, Pierre Moretti used one of the first text generators (Jean Baudot’s La Machine à écrire, 1964)to write a play which was censored for breaching public morality – one of the lawyer arguing that the computer should be put in prison. In 1993, Scott French used two books from Jacqueline Susann, a well know success-writer then, to generate a novel in her style. Just This Once led to a trial, that was finally settled out of court.

Using computers to generate art makes one wonder who the real author is since the 1960’s, but deep learning addresses the question in a new way. Big Data poetry, and Big data generation in a broader sense, questions authorship as the data is sometimes more responsible for the aesthetic content of the creation. The question is even more sensible when the « data » is still protected by copyright. Furthermore, some designers, writers and creators, intend to produce really autonomous devices, robots such as a Poet on the Shore (2017) or Wordcar (2017), which are writing accordingly to their surroundings (the sound of the waves, the speed of the wind, etc.). These autonomous robots generating literature present the possibility of a paradigm change in authorship theory, both in law and literature, that needs to be addressed.

Juriste numérique, doctorant en littérature

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