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Law Society/IMRO annual copyright lecture to examine complex intersection of copyright and AI
Dr Mark Hyland (Law Society IMRO Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property) delivering the 2020 lecture in February Pic: Cian Redmond

22 Dec 2020 / IP Print

IMRO lecture on complex AI/copyright intersection

IMRO and the Law Society are campaigning to highlight the growing importance and complexity of the relationship between creative intellectual property (IP) and artificial intelligence (AI). 

To that end, the Law Society and IMRO will host a free public lecture on the intersection between copyright and AI on Tuesday 16 February 2021.


This event is part of a unique partnership between the Law Society and IMRO, designed to highlight the importance of intellectual property to Ireland’s economic, cultural and creative sectors.

The lecture, titled “The complex intersection between copyright and artificial intelligence” will be delivered online.

Details of how to register will be published in early 2021. Speakers on the day will be Dr Hyland, Barry Scannell (IMRO) and Professor Jonathan Griffiths of Queen Mary University of London (acting as discussant).

Creative goods

Dr Mark Hyland, IMRO adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the Law Society, outlines that the growing prominence and transformative power of AI is having an enormous impact on the creation and distribution of cultural and creative goods and services.

“This important topic has been the focus of a series of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) public consultations called the WIPO Conversation on intellectual property and artificial intelligence,” Dr Hyland explains.

“The conversation aims to bridge the existing information gap between AI players and regulators, and build broad awareness of the diverse issues in this fast-moving and complex field.”

Music rights

“There is a concept on the effect of new technology, known as ‘Amara’s Law,’” suggests Barry Scannell, director of legal affairs at IMRO, “whereby the short-term effects of a new technology are over-estimated, while the long-term consequences of the technology are ignored,” he says.

Scannell is a PhD candidate on AI and music rights in University College Cork.

“We are witnessing this in the intersection of AI and music, where the state-of-the-art in AI is not capable of autonomously generating art, but there are still concerns in some sectors as to what this means for the industry.

“Meanwhile, the technology’s overwhelmingly positive long-term capabilities are not given adequate consideration,” he said.

Dr Mark Hyland has been appointed as the inaugural adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law.

Digital landscape

IMRO and the Law Society partnered to create the role in response to the fast-changing digital landscape and the inevitable on-going effects on copyright law and practice.

The professorship is a key resource to the Law Society in broadening the knowledge base of trainee and qualified solicitors in the expanding area of IP law. 

The expectation is that a solid grounding in this field of law will entice a new generation of lawyers into the music and entertainment industries.

Web-blocking injuctions

Dr Hyland is a lecturer in the College of Business at the Technological University Dublin. His current research focuses on two main themes: website-blocking injunctions in an IP context and, how geo-location/geo-blocking technologies can be used to facilitate the territorial licensing of digital copyright works.

He is a qualified solicitor and contributes articles on EU IP/IT law developments to the Eurlegal section of the Law Society Gazette.

IMRO administers the performing right in copyright music in on behalf of its members (songwriters, composers, and music publishers) and on behalf of members of the international overseas societies that are affiliated to it.

IMRO's core function is to collect and distribute royalties arising from the public performance of copyright works.

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