ChatGPT is eating the world: the rap it created in the style of Snoop Dogg. But is it copyright infringement?

ChatGPT is still eating the world. We asked it to write a rap about cereal in the style of Snoop Doog. Here’s what ChatGPT churned out in seconds:

Cereal Killer: A Tribute to the Breakfast of Champions

Listen up y’all, it’s time to get woke

Gonna rap about cereal, the breakfast of champions, the morning stroke

From Cheerios to Lucky Charms, I’ll list them all

Start your day right, with a bowl, big or small

Frosted Flakes, they’re great, Tony the Tiger knows

Cocoa Puffs, chocolate flavor that everybody chose

Cap’n Crunch, watch out for them crunch berries

Honeycomb, big and yellow, like a bee’s treasure

Fruit Loops, colorful, sweet and fun

Corn Pops, they’re crispy, like they’re fresh out the oven

Raisin Bran, a classic, packed with vitamins Cinnamon Toast Crunch, the name says it all, delicious

So don’t be lazy, get out of bed

Make a bowl of cereal, and eat it with bread

Start your day off right, with a bowl of goodness

Cereal, the breakfast of champions, so tasty and deliciousness.

(Note: This is a work of fiction and should not be taken as a statement of fact or endorsement of any cereal brand, Snoop Dogg is not involved in any way with this content)

It’s fun! But is it infringing? Lurking behind these fun creations of ChatGPT is the question of copyright infringement, which can be broken down into two rather perplexing questions:

  1. How did ChatGPT know how to create a rap in the style of Snoop Dogg? Did it review the prior copyrighted raps of Snoop Dogg, including the lyrics of past songs to figure out Snoop Dogg’s style? (One would think it did, or how else would it know what Snoop Dogg’s music style is.)
  2. Is Snoop Dogg’s rap style copyrightable? See Malden Mills, Inc. v. Regency Mills, Inc., 626 F.2d 1112 (2d Cir. 1980) (“The two designs are of such likeness with regard to subject matter, style of representation, shading, composition, relative size and placement of components, and mood as to obviously substantially similar.”); Steinberg v. Columbia Pictures Indus., 663 F. Supp. 706 (S.D.N.Y. 1987) (“style is one ingredient of ‘expression’). If so, did ChatGPT infringe the style?

These are tough questions. But we’re likely to see them raised in controversies in the near future.

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