2020] THE MACHINE AS AUTHOR 2055
In December 2016, an artificial intelligence (“AI”) system—what this
Article refers to as an “AI machine”—composed polyphonic baroque music
bearing the “style” of Johann Sebastian Bach.4 So-called “robot reporters”
routinely write news bulletins and sports reports, a process called “automated
journalism.”5 Machines write poems that many people believe were written by
a human author.6 Machines draft contracts.7 A machine named e-David
produces paintings using a complex visual optimization algorithm that
“takes pictures with its camera and draws original paintings from these
photographs.”8 Machines can write scenes of animation movies and improve
the design of objects and processes, thus generating outputs that would, were
Annemarie Bridy, Coding Creativity: Copyright and the Artificially Intelligent A uthor, 2012 STAN. TECH.
L. REV. 5, 5–6 [hereinafter Bridy, Coding] (“[A]ll creativity is inherently algorithmic . . . .”).
4. This Article uses “machine” as a generic term that may apply to a computer using
Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) software but could also cover machines capable of movement such
as a robot painting on canvas.
On the topic of machines composing music, see generally Ga ëtan Hadjeres & François
Pachet, DeepBach: A Steerable Mo del for Bach Chorales Generation (Dec. 3, 2016), https://
arxiv.org/pdf/1612.01010v1.pdf [https://perma.cc/5JYM-8BY3] (explaining a new AI model
that can produce “highly convincing” chorales in the style J.S. Bach’s “four-part harmony with
characteristic rhythmic patterns and typical melodic movements to produce musical phrases
which begin, evolve and end (cadences) in a harmonious way”); and William T. Ralston, Copyright
in Computer-Composed Music: HAL Meets Handel, 52 J. COPYRIGHT SOC’Y U.S.A. 281 (2005).
5. See Corinna Underwood, Automated Journalism—AI Applications at New York Times, Reuters,
and Other Media Giants, EMERJ, https://emerj.com/ai-sector-overviews/automated-journalism-
applications [https://perma.cc/FZ7E-5EFJ] (last updated Nov. 17, 2019). The Washington
Post’s robot reporter reportedly published 850 articles from September 2016 to September 2017,
including 300 on the Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro. See Lucia Moses, The Washington
Post’s Robot Reporter Has Published 850 Articles in the Past Year, DIGIDAY (Sept. 14, 2017),
[https://perma.cc/2TC4-MDWN]; see also Robert C. Denicol a, Ex Machina: Copyright Protection for
Computer-Generated Works, 69 RUTGERS U. L. REV. 251, 257 (2016) (“Artificial intelligence is
increasingly prominent in journalism.”).
6. See Samuel Gibbs, Google AI Project Writes Poetry Which Could Make a Vogon Proud,
GUARDIAN (May 17, 2016, 7:01 AM), https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/may/
17/googles-ai-write-poetry-stark-dramatic-vogons [https://perma.cc/NWA5-58N5] (“The
researchers fed the system starting and ending sentences and then asked it to fill in the gap.
. . . The generated sentences make grammatical sense, maintain a sort of theme and for the most
part fit with the start and end sentence. Others weren’t quite as poetic, but still maintain the
theme set by the start and ending sentences.”).
7. See generally Kathryn D. Betts & Kyle R. Jaep, The Dawn of Fully Automated Contract Drafting:
Machine Learning Breathes New Life into a Decades-Old Promise, 15 DUKE L. & TECH. REV. 216 (2017)
(discussing the advances in contract drafting software and the use of AI in that context).
8. Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid, Generating Rembrandt: Artificial Intelligence, Copyright, and
Accountability in the 3A Era—The Human-Like Authors Are Already Here—A New Model, 2017 MICH.
ST. L. REV. 659, 662.