EU’s “AI Act”: The world’s first comprehensive AI regulation is nearly here

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This memo by Morrison & Foerster’s Christiane Stutzle and Patricia Ernst covers what the “AI Act” will mean for copyright law. I know that’s a little far afield from the ESG topics I’ve been covering – but it seems like an important thing for boards and senior managers of companies doing business in the EU to be aware of. Here’s the memo’s summary:

  • Draft AI Act – What Happened So Far: Back in April 2021, the European Commission provided a draft regulation laying down harmonized rules on artificial intelligence (AI Act) aimed at safeguarding fundamental EU rights and user safety (please see our Client Alert: Draft EU Regulation for Artificial Intelligence Proposes Fines of up to 6% of Total Annual Turnover). This draft of the EU Commission was followed by a further draft of its own by the Council of the European Union in December 2022 and finally by an independent draft of the European Parliament in June 2023.
  • Generative AI: The recent emergence of widespread publicly available generative AI applications has led to last-minute proposals for regulatory amendments to the AI Act, most notably a globally unique transparency obligation regarding copyrighted material used as training data. Other copyright issues related to generative AI remain unanswered for now.
  • Consolidation of the Various Drafts – Trilogue: The EU Commission, the EU Council, and the EU Parliament have now entered into the final closed-door negotiations (“Trilogue”) to agree on a final text of the EU’s ambitious AI Act based on their three diverging proposals. In particular, the definition of AI, the risk classification of AI, and the interplay between existing laws and the AI Act to avoid double regulation will be main discussion points.