AI v copyright: how could public interest theory shift the discourse?

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To achieve a balance between rightsholders and the public in the age of generative AI (GenAI), it is necessary to redefine the concept of public interest in copyright law. This equilibrium is critical because it guarantees that rightsholders are rewarded for their work while also allowing for the dissemination and access of knowledge along with cultural expression. Additionally, redefining the concept of public interest in copyright could address emerging issues such as fair use, open access and the democratization of information in the digital age. The article examines how public interest in copyright would look in the development of GenAI by using Virginia Held's typology of public interest theory as the sole compass to address the question. The article finds that public interest in copyright could be adjusted to protect rightsholders, sustain cultural production and simultaneously accommodate the development of GenAI by first balancing the preponderance of individual interest or being supported by the preponderance of numbers and empirical terms; second, by making it consistent with individuals' overall interests and being agreed upon by the polity; and third, by judging the public interest in copyright on 'valid judgment' and normative content, where the judgment is based. While different typologies may be used to conceptualize public interest, the article suggests that it is important to explicitly identify what copyright law seeks to achieve and to balance the rights of creators with the public's interest in accessing creative works. This could be achieved through evidence-based analysis, agreement among individuals without conflicts and normative content based on the morality of society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2024
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • copyright law
  • artificial intelligence
  • public interest theory
  • innovation
  • arts
  • authors right

Field of science

  • Philosophy
  • Law


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