Seal of the United States Copyright Office. Image source: U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress Blog.

In Thursday’s (1/25) New York Times, Cecilia Kang writes, “The [federal] Copyright Office’s 450 employees register roughly half a million copyrights, the ownership rights for creative works, based on a two-centuries-old law. In recent months, however, … lobbyists for Microsoft, Google, and the music and news industries have asked to meet with Shira Perlmutter, the register of copyrights, and her staff. Thousands of artists, musicians and tech executives have written to the agency, and hundreds have asked to speak … The attention stems from a first-of-its-kind review of copyright law that the Copyright Office is conducting in the age of artificial intelligence. The technology—which feeds off creative content—has upended traditional norms around copyright, which gives owners of books, movies, and music the exclusive ability to distribute and copy their works…. The agency’s reports are set to be hugely consequential, weighing heavily in courts as well as with lawmakers and regulators…. The Copyright Office’s review has thrust it into the middle of a high-stakes clash between the tech and media industries over the value of intellectual property to train new A.I. models that are likely to ingest copyrighted books, news articles, songs, art and essays to generate writing or images…. Authors, musicians, and the media industry argued that by taking their content without permission or licensing payments, the A.I. companies were robbing them of their livelihoods.”