How AI affected the launch of CERLALC Prize in Ibero-America?

Serena Barone AI, Latin America, News, Visual Arts

This year, AI (artificial intelligence) was at the centre of forums and roundtables at international book fairs in Latin America, because of the unprecedented challenges it poses to authors and their rights. As the Regional Centre for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLALC) launches its competition for Ibero-American visual artists, we asked regional authors’ organisations and a CERLALC representative about their positions on this difficult issue.

Firstly, we talked with Andres Ossa, General Director of CERLALC.

How would you describe the Ibero-American Visual Artists Prize, and what are your expectations for it?

The prize is intended to recognise and promote artistic talent. The goal of this year’s edition is to raise awareness about the perspectives of visual artists on the use of AI in the creative industry. Illustrations, pictures, paintings, and any other type of bidimensional work that reflects its audiovisual creator’s viewpoint on AI are eligible to participate in the competition.

You can find out how to participate here:

Why did you decide to allow the use of AI? What kind of limits do you consider appropriate and in which way do you think you can check whether the work is fully AI generated?

CERLALC wants to reward an Ibero-American creator, therefore only works created by human beings can participate. In line with regional copyright law, AI generated work is not protected by copyright. If the person simply provides the idea for the work or trains the AI machine to create the work, this person is not considered the author of the work and thus cannot participate in the competition. Even though we understand that many artists use AI as a support tool for their creative process, and if this is the case, it must be clarified and mentioned in the work description.

What will happen to the winning works?

The winner will receive $1000 and the 20 top works will be part of an exhibition that will be presented at the Guadalajara International Book Fair 2023.

Would you like to add anything?

With this Prize we wanted to show our support to the creative community and listen to its concerns. For this reason, we are happy that it has generated controversy. We are grateful that a comprehensive conversation about the use of AI has occurred, and that organisations have suggested that the topic should be revised. In response to these requests, we are establishing new agreements with various institutions, as well as a Regional Multisectoral Consultation, which will allow us to develop an initial set of ethical guidelines for the use of AI in the creative and cultural sectors.

We want to find solutions for the authors’ and artists’ social security, to face the gaps of the human resources and support, future legal, economic and social challenges which will emerge with the use of AI. The results will we presented at the CERLALC Board Meeting, which will reunite the Ministers of Cultures of Ibero-America on 19 and 20 of October in Panama. We are hopeful that this experience will produce the desired results.

 AUTVIS and AGADU are two Latin American organisations who endorsed CERLALC’s call for the Prize and are IAF members. We asked Fabiana Nascimiento, CEO of AUTVIS and Maria Jose de la Fuente, in charge of the visual artists and audiovisuals sector at AGADU, about their opinion about this topic.

Why is this prize so important to Latin American visual artists?

AUTVIS: Firstly, it is important because it is open to the whole Latin American community. This interaction and exchange helps to enrich regional artistic production. Secondly, it is important because it’s a competition. Competitions are always a source of original works and frequently define changes in artistic phases.

AGADU: All initiatives that promote and disseminate the work of our creators are welcomed, as they foster an exchange and approach amongst Latino artists, generating valuable content in our culture which is brought to the creative sector.

Knowing that there are still many doubts regarding the use of AI from a legal point of view, why did you decide to promote the participation of affiliates?

AUTVIS: As for all innovations, there are discussions about the misuse, different kind of risks and othrt ethical questions, and these discussion must exist.

However, we need to consider the benefits and opportunities these new tools could bring. AI is an innovative tool, as was the internet, CorelDraw and streaming platforms. It needs to be applied and regulated for sure, and its use will show the issues that will help to set a more effective set of principles for its regulation.

AGADU: I think that new technologies need to be seen as an integration regulated by copyright policies, as has already occurred with the advent of computers and the internet. Legislation needs to find a balance between AI and IP, taking into account the creativity and originality of the human mind.

In your opinion, what are the limits that need to be established for the use of AI in these kind of events?

AUTVIS: Basically, that the work is not 100% AI generated and that the use of AI during the creation of the work is clarified.

AGADU: CERLALC took the necessary measures which have been clearly expressed in the terms and conditions of the competition. It is very clear that AI generated works cannot join the competition as the goal of the prize is for visual artists to give their opinion on this topic and their perspective which is really important to keep working in favour of their rights.

What kind of recommendations do you propose to your members regarding the use of AI?

AUTVIS: They should use it as a tool for their work, but they should not abuse it.

AGADU: At the moment, we haven’t received any enquires from our members. However, AGADU is going to organise a forum on AI and IP for its members and the general public.

Another point of view is that of the Asociación de Dibujantes de Argentina (ADA), which is also an IAF member and has released a petition in response to the prize launched by CERLALC, focused on the topic of AI.

Poly Bernatene, President of ADA, which is the main aspect in the Prize competition call that you consider an issue?

We understand the good intentions of the prize, but we believe there is a big controversy in its terms. We agree on the fact it’s necessary to talk about the benefits and disadvantages the use of AI could bring along. However, in the case of AI generated pictures there hasn’t yet been formulated a legal framework to regulate participation in the competition and the use of AI.

Apart from being biased and failing to protect the authors’ rights and interests, the Judge must ask, “How could it be possible to ensure the work generated using AI is not substantially or entirely a plagiarism or wrongful appropriation?”

For this reason, ADA proposed only creators who hold the qualification as authors of their works could participate in the competition, in light of the normative in force related to authors’ right. As a result, AI generated works CANNOT participate in the competition until the legislation authorities make a decision regarding the machines’ training source and the possibility of registering AI generated works under copyright law, as an effort to protect the authors’ and creators’ rights which are affected. This proposal will also be significant to raise awareness among users and institutions about the importance of its regulation.

Are you against the use of AI?

It’s too soon to be with or against AI. We accept all technology in favour of art or its production when they do not infringe authors rights or privacy. That’s why we believe that organizations like CERLALC, IAF or WIPO should speak up for the urgent regulations on the use of AI, so that the benefits of its use will be really equal for everyone involved in the creation of works and it exploitation. Until now, we would only validate disloyal competencies and authors’ rights inequity.

Until the authorities define the legal framework and regulations regarding the use of AI, we do not recommend its use.

Is there any way to check the percentage of AI used to create a piece of work?

Currently there is no technology that allows us to check for this, and this is the reason why we insist that a competition like this cannot validate the use of AI.

Is there anything else you want to add?

We are living in an era of significant changes in the global economy, and it is critical that authors, who represent an important link in the creative industry chain, do not comply with the regulations imposed by large corporations which make authors’ rights even more precarious.