One (innovation) flew over the law’s head: The intersection of artificial intelligence and copyright

Authors Razeen Khan and Ngonidzaishe Gotora

ISSN: 2521-2591
Affiliations: LLM Candidate, University of Cape Town; Candidate Legal Practitioner, Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes (STBB); LLM Candidate, University of Cape Town; Research Assistant, DSI-NRF South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Intellectual Property, Innovation and Development
Source: South African Intellectual Property Law Journal, 2023, p. 72 – 87


This article analyses South African copyright laws, with reference to artificial intelligence (AI). It deals specifically with the authorship of copyrightable works as contained in the Copyright Act 98 of 1978. The Act provides that authorship vests differently, depending on the type of work in question ie a work recognised by s 2 of the Act. The article seeks to provide insight into the existing jurisprudence surrounding AI and copyright in the South African context. Moreover, it relies on prevailing local jurisprudence to show that South Africa may lack an adequate legal structure to tackle the future implications of conferring authorship on non-human entities. The article also briefly explores resolutions in other regions such as China and draws on Ginsburg’s legal tests for authorship. The article’s focus is primarily on South African law in its current state, with reference to other legal jurisdictions and the future.