May 17, 2023

Inc. Features Q&A with Justin Pierce on the Five Legal Pitfalls to Avoid if You Use Generative A.I. for Your Business

2 min

On May 17, 2023, Justin Pierce was featured in a Q&A with Inc. regarding the five legal pitfalls to avoid if you use generative A.I. for your business.  The following is an excerpt:

  1. Fact-check A.I.-generated content

A.I. text generators such as ChatGPT can sometimes "hallucinate" or spit out convincing-sounding fake information. One of the biggest risks with these tools is if your company generates marketing copy for a product and that copy turns out to include false information, the company could expose itself to a false advertising claim, says Justin Pierce, co-chair of the intellectual property division at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Venable.

For this reason, Cantor recommends using A.I.-generated content as a starting point, not the final version of your copy. Asking the program to cite sources for the text it generates and doing your own vetting can also help ensure your materials are accurate.

  1. Don't generate images of celebrities

A.I. image generators can produce works in the style of a particular artist as well as images that look like a notable person. It might seem like a fun way to illustrate a newsletter or create a viral social media post (remember those images of Pope Francis appearing to wear Balenciaga?)—but using images of a real person or character could land your company in trouble.

"As a matter of policy, avoid putting in trademarks, celebrities, well-known images, or popular fictional characters in the prompt," says Pierce. "When you do that, you're going to generate content that has a high probability of being subject to claims of copyright infringement, rights of publicity violations, or trademark infringement."

  1. Consider your copyright protections

In March, the U.S. Copyright Office released guidance saying that works such as art, music, or writing where the human generates the prompt but the output is created by an A.I. system are generally not protected under copyright law. So, you may not have recourse if someone copies work you created using a machine.

But there are exceptions: When A.I.-generated content is incorporated into a larger work, the use of A.I. needs to be disclosed, but the human-created portions can be subject to copyright protections.

Click here to access the article.