Sunday Book-Thought 54

Copyright ignores robots. This choice is entirely consistent with copyright’s theory of the romantic reader. It is amply supported by fair use doctrine. And it yields sensible results in the cases that have come before the courts. But there is something unsettling about a rule of law that regulates humans and gives robots free rein. Most immediately, it encourages people and businesses to outsource their reading. To the extent that the rule depends on the inhuman scale of robotic reading, it also encourages them to scale up their copying. Rebroadcast one radio station from humans and you’re an infringer; copy a thousand TV stations for computers and you’re a fair use hero.
James Grimmelmann, ‘Copyright for Literate Robots‘, Iowa Law Review, 101 (2016), 657-681 (pp. 674-675).

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