Winter Reading List: New Resources on Accessibility, Creative Commons, and Copyright for Works Generated by AI

Posted January 23, 2020

At Authors Alliance, we enjoy keeping up with all the latest news related to authorship and copyright, and we know that our members do, too. In that spirit, we’ve collected a few new resources to keep you informed about the latest in making documents accessible, the fundamentals of Creative Commons, and arguments for and against giving copyright protection to works generated by AI machines.

Have recommendations for our next reading list? Send us an email today with your suggestion!

Understanding Document Accessibility

Notwithstanding significant strides made toward making digital content more accessible over the past decade, the prevalence of inaccessible digital content continues to be problematic. In 2018, we released a report discussing the unique role authors play in making digital works accessible. We’re thrilled to share a new resource, Understanding Document Accessibility by The Chang School at Ryerson University, which provides detailed instructions to help authors ensure their documents are structured correctly so that people using assistive technologies can interact with their digital content. Intended for a general audience, this CC BY-SA licensed resource reviews the tools available for creating accessible documents and provides application-specific instructions on creating accessible word processed documents, spreadsheets, presentation slides, and PDF documents, among others, so they are accessible to everyone.

Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians

Creative Commons has recently released a companion book to its CC Certificate program, Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians. The book provides in-depth coverage of CC licenses, open practices, and the ethos of the commons. In addition to explaining the layers and elements of CC licenses and how they interact, the book shares techniques for finding works in the public domain, advice for assessing and revising institutional policies for open education, information on complying with open licensing requirements, and much more. A valuable resource for anyone creating or working with CC-licensed materials, Creative Commons for Educators and Librarians is available as a CC BY licensed PDF that can be downloaded here or in print from the ALA Store. Educators and librarians interested in learning more can also take a 10-week online CC Certificate course for a fee.

The Machine as Author

With recent review of issues related to intellectual property and artificial intelligence being undertaken by the US Patent and Trademark Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization—as well as the generation of news articles, poetry, paintings, and more by AI machines—now is a good time to brush up on your knowledge on this topic. A recent article, The Machine as Author by Daniel Gervais, Professor at Vanderbilt Law School, reviews arguments for and against giving copyright protection to literary and artistic works generated by AI machines, concluding that productions that do not result from human creative choices belong in the public domain. Read the full article to learn more about Gervais’ proposed test to determine which productions should be protected.