9 Tul. J. Tech. & Intell. Prop. 205 (2007)
Rebuilding Babel: Copyright and the Future of Online Machine Translation

handle is hein.journals/tuljtip9 and id is 209 raw text is: Rebuilding Babel: Copyright and the Future of
Online Machine Translation
Erik Ketzan'
Machine translation (MT) is computer technology that translates human languages. The
legal implications of MT have yet to be considered by legal scholars or technologists because the
technology, in its current state, is too far from functional to create actual legal problems. This
Article predicts that if AT ever evolves to 'good enough, it will create massive copyright
infringement on an unprecedented global scale. The Article argues that MT, specifically online
M, needs to be protected from litiation because it is socially, politically, and commercially
beneficial. Online MT has the power to revolutionize communication by eliminating language
bamers, bridging the gap between different cultures, providing services to nminority language
speakers, and tansforming global e-commeree by allowing even the smallest online vendor to
serve the international market. I argue forprotection through the creation of effective licenses and
statutory clarfication of online AT noninfringing nature.
I.    INTRODUCTION      ................................................................................. 206
I.   BACKGROUND       ................................................................................... 207
A.    A (Bief) History of the Tanslation Derivative Right .......... 207
B.    A  (Blie!) History ofMachine Translation ............................. 209
C     The Technology and Howt Works ........................................ 211
D     How Good Is Good Enough? ............................................. 213
III.  C LAIM    ............................................................................................... 2 15
A.    Social and Oultural Beneits ofM           ...................................... 215
B.    Politcal Benefit ofMT .......................................................... 219
C     ConmercialBenefit of ViableW            ....................................... 222
IV    MACHINE TRANSLATION UNDER CURRENT LAW ............................ 225
A.    Direct Lnflingement by Babeltron or User ............................ 226
B.    Secondawy Liabiliy ................................................................. 227
C     ImpliedLicense ...................................................................... 229
D     Fair  Use  ................................................................................... 232
E.    Digital Millennium     CopynghtAct ........................................ 233
V     C ONCLUSION     .................................................................................... 234
*     J.D. 2006, University of Pittsburgh School of Law; M.B.A. 2006, Katz Graduate
School of Business, University of Pittsburgh; B.A. 2002 (History), Johns Hopkins University.
Thanks to Professors Kevin Ashley and Michael Madison for guiding this Article through
completion. Thanks also to Geoffrey Brock, translator of Italian literature, and Ariadna Font
Llitj6s, MT researcher, for their helpfil explanations. All errors and omissions are, of course, the
author's. This work was supported by the Samuelson-Glushko Fellowship in Intellectual Property
and Technology Law. Contact: erik.ketzan@gmail.com.

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