I have been proud to serve as the CEO of the Copyright Alliance for the past eight years. During that time, I have witnessed our fair share of ups and down, wins and losses, and member agreements and disagreements. There have also been numerous issues that have come across my desk. But no issue has drawn more interest and concern from Copyright Alliance members than Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Every single Copyright Alliance member is concerned with and closely monitoring the impact that artificial intelligence will have on their creative endeavors. We recently submitted our initial comments and will submit our reply comments by November 29 to the U.S. Copyright Office in response the Office’s request for comments on copyright and AI. Every one of our members played an essential role in helping us develop these comments. The process of working with them to draft our response reminded me of why I consider myself privileged to represent the Copyright Alliance and each of our members.
Most of the time, our member organizations are in lockstep on copyright issues. But occasionally, as we drill down into a particular issue, there may not be complete agreement. To the extent that our members have a difference of opinion on a particular AI-related issue or any other issue, they have been able to put those differences aside and work together to develop a unified Copyright Alliance position—just as they have done on the numerous copyright issues that have come along before. They reach a consensus position because they understand the important role played by the Copyright Alliance, and the importance of developing a unified view on copyright issues. This has never been truer than when discussing copyright issues related to AI.
Other associations and alliances have been fragmented by their members’ unwillingness or inability to see the big picture, compromise, and reach agreement amongst themselves. I consider myself very fortunate to work with and for members that understand the necessity of this goal and appreciate that whatever small differences they may have between themselves, they are small in comparison to those they have with AI companies and others who consider them and their works nothing more than grist for the AI mill.
This is just one of several things that I find myself being thankful for at this time of year. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, as I look back at the events of the past year, I find that there are many other things that I have come to appreciate, including:
- The knowledgeable, hardworking, dedicated, and passionate Copyright Alliance staff who diligently advocate for policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright and protect the rights of creators and innovators. The staff at the Copyright Alliance has changed over the years but one thing that has not changed is that throughout each of my eight years here, I have been blessed to work with truly wonderful people who love what they do, who love working with one another, who love helping individuals and small businesses on the copyright issues of the day, and who truly believe in the mission of the Copyright Alliance. This has never been more apparent than the last few months when our policy team, headed by Kevin Madigan and Rachel Kim, worked tirelessly to draft and refine our AI NOI submission to the Copyright Office. I also want to take a moment to highlight and express my gratitude for the incredible contributions of Terrica Carrington, who left the Copyright Alliance after seven years of working diligently on behalf of creators and the creative community. The essential role that Terrica played on so many important copyright issues over the years, especially the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act), will be forever appreciated and never forgotten.
- The organization members of the Copyright Alliance. As I noted above, our members may occasionally disagree with one another, but at the end of the day they are able to understand and appreciate the mission of the Copyright Alliance and the importance of strong and effective copyright protection. This understanding enables them to put aside their differences and make decisions on controversial and/or complex copyright issues that are in the best interest of the copyright and creator communities.
- The millions of creators across the globe whose interests the Copyright Alliance seeks to protect. Despite having to deal with companies and people that have no moral compass to prevent them from using their works without payment or permission and laws that do not always adequately or effectively protect them or their creativities, these creators continue to work tirelessly to create and disseminate new copyrighted works for the world to enjoy.
- The leadership and staff at the U.S. Copyright Office, for supporting copyright and creativity every day, for working to modernize the copyright registration system, and for promoting the importance of copyright to our culture, economy, and international trade, as well as the officers and attorneys of the 18-month old Copyright Claims Board;
- The Copyright Alliance Legal, Creators, and Academic Advisory Boards, for their dedication and support of Copyright Alliance members by sharing their experience, advocacy, and advice.
- Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLAs) for continuing to support creativity and innovation by providing pro-bono legal services and educational workshops to independent creators throughout the country.
- All those who have or will donate to the Copyright Alliance on Giving Tuesday this year and in the past and at other times throughout the year so that the Copyright Alliance can continue to champion the rights of creators and their works through dedicated advocacy and comprehensive copyright education. Your continued donations help to empower us to foster a world where creativity not only survives but thrives.
- A copyright law that protects the television shows, books, music, magazines, photographs, movies, software, video games, art, newspapers, and so many other creative works and incentivizes their creation and dissemination so that people like you and I can enjoy them.
As we all look forward to 2024, the Copyright Alliance will continue to work hard to ensure that the rights of all creators and copyright owners across the country are respected. In particular, we will urge policymakers to ensure that AI companies act responsibly, ethically, and respectfully when it comes to their use of copyrighted works, and that those who infringe the rights of copyright owners, and those that facilitate those infringements, are held accountable.
If you aren’t already a member of the Copyright Alliance, you can join today by completing our Individual Creator Members membership form! Members gain access to monthly newsletters, educational webinars, and so much more — all for free!