Japan will not enforce copyright laws on AI data training, says minister
Japan has declared that it will not be enforcing copyrights on any data used to train artificial intelligence (AI). The bold move is the first of its kind, amidst many governments taking a slight backseat approach to making any definite regulations on the subject.
Japan’s minister for education, culture, sports and technology has said that they will allow content to be taken from any source for what they have called “information analysis.”
Minister Keiko Nagoaka apparently clearly stated during a committee meeting that AI companies can use whatever they want in terms of data for AI training. The policy allows AI to use any data “regardless of whether it is for non-profit or commercial purposes, whether it is an act other than reproduction, or whether it is content obtained from illegal sites or otherwise,” she said.
Coverage of the subject has been limited so far. However, the information was shared via the website Technomancers.ai. Their opinion is that Japan is feeling left behind in the AI race due to concerns over copyright infringement, particularly in the anime and visual media realms. This is interesting since, for a long time, Japan has been at the forefront of new technology. Now it appears that Japan is going for AI tech with guns blazing.
According to Technomancers, Japan lacks the wealth of literary data to train AI that Western cultures have plenty of. They do, however, have a wealth of visual data to draw from, which Western AI companies are already helping themselves to. This stance feels a little tit-for-tat, although it may well pave the way for more governments to step in and begin international dialogues about common issues such as copyright and AI data training.
So far, it is a Wild West in that the AI companies are paving their own way, with little to no regulation. After an outcry from various artists and photographers about image scraping and copyright, we are still no further forward than one or two lawsuits from the likes of Getty Images. Perhaps the time is ripe for international copyright laws to be agreed upon in relation to AI, however, don’t hold your breath that it will benefit individual artists in any way, shape or form.
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe