Talk I: Copyright Challenge – A Comparative Law View on Authorship



  • Available Until 7/1/2025
  • Class Time 1:00 PM PT
  • Duration 120 min.
  • Format On-Demand
  • Program Code BCLT0012
  • CA General CLE Credits: 2.00 hr(s)

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Program occured on January 23, 2024

Event Information | Agenda | Resources

Presented by Asia IP & Competition Law Center

In Nov. 2023, the five-year-old Beijing Internet Court (“BIC”) issued a landmark judgment (Li v. Liu) on the copyright eligibility of an image generated with Stable Diffusion AI, finding the human user that provided elaborate prompts to the machine to be the “author”. This judgment has triggered a flurry of vigorous debates in China, and meanwhile attracted significant international attention. Some commented that this $70 ruling may have far-reaching implications on the evolution of AIGC in China, unleashing a trillion-dollar industry. Some contrasted this judgment with the various rejection decisions issued lately by the US Copyright Office (“USCO”), which found that the human users in the loop do not have sufficient authorial control, despite the hundreds of prompt inputs. The apparent disparity in outcomes however, may have largely shadowed the similarity of a human-centered approach adopted by both institutions facing a common conundrum. With the emergence of powerful Gen-AI tools and their varied synergies with human beings, we now start to witness real-world examples of “authorless works” as coined by Prof. Ginsburg and Luke Budiardjo. While these “works” may not fulfill the conventional authorship requirement, some of them may have remarkable commercial or even arguably artistic values (depending how we interpret “art”). How to properly address this common challenge faced by all jurisdictions, may require us to go beyond the doctrinal level and revisit the justifying principles of copyright law / author’s law, in light of the legal and economic context in the particular jurisdiction.

In this inaugural Talk, we invited Profs Guobin Cui and Qian Wang, two renowned copyright law scholars in China, to give us a nuanced account of this case, against the backdrop of how the rapidly evolving copyright law deals with various technological challenges in China. As a comparison, BCLT’s own faculty director Prof. Robert Merges, Co-Director of BAIC, will provide his insight through the lens of US copyright law, as well as the underlying principles of intellectual property.



Prof. Guobin Cui (???), Tsinghua University School of Law
Prof. Robert Merges, BCLT
Prof. Qian Wang (??), Eastern University of Political Science and Law


Dr. Yuan Hao (??), BCLT