Rethinking Copyright

ChatGPT from the Balkans Copyright Perspective

ChatGPT is a trending topic worldwide now. How does it affect the countries in the Western Balkans from a copyright perspective?

For those who have not come across this topic yet – ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence tool available to everyone. For more details, we asked this system itself to explain to us what it is. Let’s see what heights it can reach.

On 8 December 2022, at https://chat.openai.com/chat we asked:

“Write me an article about ChatGPT from a copyright perspective.”

The response that followed in a couple of seconds was:

“ChatGPT is a powerful language model developed by OpenAI that has the ability to generate text in a conversational style. As with any technology that involves the creation of original content, there are important copyright considerations to keep in mind when using ChatGPT.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that ChatGPT does not create original content on its own. It is a tool that is designed to generate text based on the input it receives, but it does not have the ability to independently generate creative works. This means that any content generated by ChatGPT would be considered a derivative work, and as such, would be subject to the copyright of the original material.

In order to use ChatGPT in a manner that is compliant with copyright law, it is necessary to have the permission of the copyright holder of any original material that is used as input for the model. This could include written text, audio recordings, or any other form of content that is used as input for ChatGPT.

It is also important to note that even if the original material used as input for ChatGPT is in the public domain, the resulting output may still be subject to copyright protection. This is because the output generated by ChatGPT will likely contain original elements, such as the specific wording and phrasing used, that are not present in the original material.

In addition to obtaining the necessary permissions, it is also important to properly attribute any original material used as input for ChatGPT. This means that when using the output of the model, it should be clearly indicated which portions of the content were generated by ChatGPT and which were derived from the original input material.

Overall, ChatGPT is a powerful tool for generating text, but it is important to use it in a manner that is compliant with copyright law. By obtaining the necessary permissions and properly attributing any original material used as input, users of ChatGPT can ensure that their use of the model is legal and respectful of the rights of copyright holders.”

The system itself nicely raised the main issues concerning copyright protection of the works created via this tool, on a general level. When it comes to the jurisdictions like Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia, the same issues are relevant. The users must check if the copyright-protected work was used to create the work they requested from the system, and they have to attribute it properly. Artificial intelligence is not creating the works from scratch. It is (still) taking the bits and pits of the existing works, and it tries to create new works. In essence, in many cases, it is still reasonable to assume that these works would be derivative works. On the other hand, we must admit that even humans never create “completely” original works – they use the knowledge/information they acquired during their education or through collective consciousness, so originality has to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

On the other hand, the users of artificial intelligence should be aware that substantial human input is required for copyright protection, so if they create a text or other work by means of these tools, they can hardly claim copyright and prevent others from using the same output.

Anyhow, we are happy to see new technologies help us in everyday life, but they have to be used cautiously. This especially goes when we consider that the creators of the platform promote instructing the system in different ways. One of them is giving instructions to draft something in a particular voice (e.g. “write me an article on the oil crisis in New York Times style”). This is where things get more complicated when stylization is added.

For instance, we tried this instruction:

“Please draft a screenplay about two attorneys going to court, as Almodóvar would do it.”

The output was:


We see the two attorneys, JUAN and PEDRO, sitting at their respective tables, eyeing each other warily. The JUDGE enters and takes his seat.

JUDGE: This court is now in session. Mr. Juan, you may begin your opening argument.

JUAN: Thank you, Your Honor. My client, Mr. Garcia, is an upstanding member of society who has been wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit. We will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the true culprit is none other than the defendant, Mr. Hernandez.

PEDRO: Objection, Your Honor! Mr. Juan is trying to prejudice the jury with his baseless accusations.

JUDGE: Overruled. Mr. Juan, please continue.

JUAN: Thank you, Your Honor. We have witnesses and evidence that will show that Mr. Hernandez was seen at the scene of the crime and that he had the motive to commit the crime.

The trial goes on, with both attorneys presenting their arguments and evidence. The JUDGE listens attentively and occasionally interjects with a question or ruling.


The JUDGE is about to give the jury their instructions before they begin their deliberations.

JUDGE: Members of the jury, it is now your duty to determine the verdict in this case. You must consider all the evidence and arguments presented by both sides and use your common sense and experience to arrive at a fair and just decision.

The jury deliberates for several hours before returning with their verdict.

JUDGE: Mr. Foreman, have you reached a verdict?

FOREMAN: We have, Your Honor.

JUDGE: And how do you find the defendant, Mr. Hernandez?

FOREMAN: We find the defendant, Mr. Hernandez, guilty.

The JUDGE bangs his gavel, signaling the end of the trial. Juan and Pedro exchange a brief glance before packing up their things and leaving the courtroom.


We do not know what actually happened – but the same goes for some of Almodóvar’s originals.

Most likely, the system analysed and chopped bits and pieces of real Almodóvar’s screenplays,  editing and modifying them. If the right holders of the original screenplaysmakes a link between the main and derivative works, the persons who used this text could be liable for copyright infringement, at least in the Balkan region.


The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.