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Artificial Intelligence and Copyright: A Statement by the German Council for Cultural Affairs

This post is also available in: Deutsch

The German Cultural Council is the umbrella organization of the federal cultural associations in Germany. It represents the interests of artists, cultural workers and cultural institutions on a national and international level. The Cultural Council advocates for the promotion of culture and the arts and takes a position on important cultural policy issues.

Today, the German Cultural Council published a comprehensive statement on the topic of copyright and generative artificial intelligence (AI). This opinion discusses in detail the challenges and issues raised by the use of AI in relation to copyright. The result largely matches the information and explanations I have published myself in my other blogposts. The search function at the top of the page will help.

Summary of the opinion

In its statement, the German Cultural Council addresses the copyright issues that arise in connection with generative AI. This involves very fundamental questions: What consequences does AI have for the daily work and the appropriate remuneration of authors? What do the new developments mean for licensing practice and for the cultural and creative industries as a whole? How can AI be prevented from completely compromising the reliability of information? Who is liable for any infringements and damages caused by AI? What does it mean that AI systems are primarily developed by a few large IT giants that have the necessary economic and technical resources? Or more generally: How far does man want to rely on the products of machines for services that were previously originally assigned to humans?

The Council of Culture welcomes the efforts of the EU Commission to establish harmonized rules for AI and emphasizes the need to include the current developments of AI in the upcoming trilogue procedure of Parliament, Council and Commission.

The Opinion focuses on two aspects: the proprietary works used to train AI (“input”) and the products produced by AI (“output”).

For “input,” the Cultural Council is calling on the federal government to examine whether the existing restrictions on text and data mining cover the use of protected works for training AI systems. In addition, the Federal Government should ensure that rightholders benefit from the reservation option in Section 44b (1). 3 UrhG can actually make use of and meaningful transparency obligations of the developers of AI are created.

As far as “output” is concerned, the Cultural Council emphasizes that copyrighted works can only be created by people. Therefore, the products created by AI are not to be considered as works in the sense of § 2 UrhG. However, it is recognized that the product of an AI can serve as a starting point for subsequent creative output by a human. In this case, copyright protection could be considered if these achievements have sufficient originality.

The Kulturrat calls on the German government to consider labeling requirements for the user of AI products. In addition, the relevant liability issues related to AI applications should be clarified.

Finally, the Cultural Council emphasizes that the use of AI also offers opportunities for authors and the entire creative industries. Nevertheless, there is an urgent need for clarification of the open questions and rapid regulation by the legislature.


The German Council of Culture’s statement on AI and copyright is an important contribution to the ongoing debate on the impact of AI on the cultural and creative industries. It underscores the need to thoroughly examine the copyright issues raised by the use of AI and to take appropriate regulatory action. The goal should always be to strengthen human authorship and to protect the existing ancillary copyright of producers.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


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