AI and intellectual property rights

Have does AI threaten intellectual property rights? How can it be used to affect the integrity of your research? The Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd), an organisation mainly for Australian and New Zealander editors, recently released a statement about AI in publishing. Here are some main points:


The CSIRO defines AI as “a collection of interrelated technologies used to solve problems autonomously and perform tasks to achieve defined objectives without explicit guidance from a human being”. The Colorado State University [CSU] Global further notes that it “allows machines and computer applications to mimic human intelligence, learning from experience via iterative processing and algorithmic training”.

Disadvantages of AI for writing and editing

I have written previously about the advantages and disadvantages of using an AI tool such as ChatGPT for research and editing. IPEd is particularly concerned that:

“To learn, these systems rely on data created by humans – data that may be collected and monetised without the creators’ permission or remuneration.

As AI and LLMs expand, editors could be caught up in the process of misusing intellectual property.

Generated content is often poorly written, biased and inaccurate, if not entirely fabricated, which puts extra pressure on editors.

Editors are at risk of losing work because potential clients may believe our services can be adequately replaced by AI or LLMs.”


When working with AI and LLM generated material, writers and editors run the risk of:

“being unaware of the use of fabricated data, quotes and sources

working on text that has been appropriated from an author without their knowledge or permission

being unaware they are working with sourced material that is not acknowledged

working with material that breaches privacy and data laws

editing material that lacks quality control measures.”


What AI problematically offers that humans do not are:

“lack of contextual understanding (nuances such as tone, context, style)

absence of moral judgement

lack of cultural sensitivity or awareness of diversity and inclusion.”


AI also cannot:

“offer creative direction

mentor and guide content creators.”


IPEd joins the call on the Australian Government to develop a framework to provide “authorisation, fair compensation and transparency” to protect authors (you can include researchers here) and editors. It acknowledges the New Zealand Government’s efforts within the World Economic Forum on AI governance and regulation.

It also supports emerging technologies “when they have been developed and are used ethically, transparently, sustainably and with appropriate remuneration to the relevant parties (authors and publishers).” Who could argue with that?

Finally, IPEd “stands in solidarity with authors and publishers in calling for the preservation of their moral and material rights over their work.”  This preservation of intellectual property rights in particular affects all researchers.