I just read this article about a Professor from Canterbury University who as a joke wrote an entire paper using Apple auto-complete which he submitted to conference organisers for a forthcoming Nuclear Physics conference. He knew nothing about the topic and the article was created by him randomly selecting options generated by the auto-complete function. The bigger joke was that he then secured a space at the conference! Aside from thoughts about the conference and its quality, as an IP lawyer one of my first thoughts was who owns the copyright in the paper - the academic , Apple or the University?
Essentially section 21 of the Copyright Act provides the the first owner of copyright in a literary work (which the paper would be despite it being nonsensical) is the author of the work. So the next question is who is the "author"? The author is the "person who creates it" and in the case of a literary work which is computer generated, the Act goes on to provide that the person who made the arrangements for the creation of the work owns it. I looked at Apple's own term of use and although, as you would expect, they cover off Apple's own IP they do not address the ownership of predictive text content. So despite the Professor randomly accepting words by starting the paper on theme and then tapping away it seems clear he will own the copyright.
The qualification to that principle is, as an employee of the University, the University may own it but given it was a joke, and waste of his time I suspect the University will not assert an ownership claim over what is no doubt a fine academic piece!
An academic who jokingly wrote a research paper written entirely by Apple's iOS autocomplete - and was subsequently filled with nonsense - has been accepted to present his findings at a nuclear physics conference. Christopher Bartneck, an associate professor at the University of Canterbury's Human Interface Technology laboratory in New Zealand, was stunned to discover he had been successful in securing a place at the conference, which takes place in America next month, reports Daily Mail. "I started a sentence with 'Atomic' or 'Nuclear' and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions," wrote Bartneck in a blog post on Thursday. "The text really does not make any sense."