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Prof. Dr. Mr. Madeleine de Cock Buning Centre for Intellectual Property Law, Institute for Private Law Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance Utrecht.

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Presentation on theme: "Prof. Dr. Mr. Madeleine de Cock Buning Centre for Intellectual Property Law, Institute for Private Law Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance Utrecht."— Presentation transcript:

1 Prof. Dr. Mr. Madeleine de Cock Buning Centre for Intellectual Property Law, Institute for Private Law Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance Utrecht University, The Netherlands Robot Companions for Citizens Legal Issues

2 General Question Introduction 2 What legal issues will be encountered in the introduction and functioning of Robot Companions for Citizens in society? and on a meta level: what is (and should!) be the role of law in the introduction of RC as a new technology?

3 Robot Companion (as relevant for law) An assistant to citizens in daily life activities while being: Soft bodied Sentient (i.a. contextual awareness of self, other and environment) Cognizant Self-learning able to interact (communicate with and/or physically influence) with their physical and social environment able to make decisions Consequence: RCC will perform tasks that have legal relevance Working Definitions 3

4 Functions of law: Shaping society (normative) Regulation of the relations between humans and between public institutions (governments) and humans Enforcement by dedicated public institutions Maintaining the freedom of all individuals (by limiting the economical or physical freedom of those who offend the rules and guidelines) Esp. for RCC in society: avoid negative impact (security), acceptance, risk minimization Law 4

5 RCC Flagship Initiative International European multilateral funding collaboration under FP8 Applicable law: Domestic legislation of the participating countries European law (regulations and directives) International law (conventions and principles) Legal framework 5

6 Main legal issues Legal Capacity Liability Privacy Standardization RCC-Generated Works Intellectual Property (Patent, Trademarks, Copyright) Main Legal Issues 6

7 1 7 Mr. X is elderly and has poor health. He instructs his RCC to go grocery shopping and to pick up his prescription pills on the way home. Legal Capacity

8 Legal Capacity (1) Meaning To be able to enter into valid legal transactions (e.g. to be a contract partner in a purchase agreement). Relevance Without legal capacity RCCs cannot be a party in a valid transaction, hence nobody would conclude an agreement with RCCs. Current Legal situation No international and European legislation exists on this matter. National law: In several countries only legal capacity for natural and legal persons. Since RCCs are not (yet) legally defined as either natural persons or legal persons RCCs will not have legal capacity according to those countries current domestic legislation. 8

9 Legal Capacity (2) Possible solutions Awarding full legal capacity (by making RCCs legal entities). Consider RCCs to be mandated by the owner (by classifying RCCs as agents/subordinates). Follow the rules for minors (allowing RCCs to conduct certain transactions e.g. for small goods but not for larger items). Issue Degrees of sentience, autonomy, abilities and capacity for feeling and suffering will play an important role in deciding on the legal standing/capacity of RCCs. Note: choice on legal capacity will have immediate consequences for the position of RCCs in other legal issues (liability/human rights)! Actions Examination of current legal provisions on legal capacity and mandates Discussion on whether (and if yes to what extend) legal capacity is desired Regular multi-dimentional communication in Consortium E.g. Basic knowledge of economic and legal aspects and social behaviour is required to act legally relevant in society 9

10 10 Liability Mrs Xs RCC is walking down the street while carrying a large bag of groceries. As it turns a corner it collides with a woman on a bicycle. The woman is injured and her bicycle is damaged. (tort/fault liability)

11 Liability (1) Meaning If damage is caused to a person or an object through or by RCCs, rules on liability decide who, if anyone, is to provide monetary compensation. Relevance Product liability Strict liability Fault liability (Criminal liability) Current Legal Situation There is international, European and national legislation on liability. These rules were however not drafted with RCCs in mind and may not be fit or sufficient. 11

12 Liability (2) Ethical issues The choice that will be made on the legal standing of RCCs will have an immediate effect on the position of RCCs in liability-cases. Therefore no useful comment can be given on whether RCCs should or could be held liable personally for damages until the issue on legal standing is dealt with. Actions Examining whether the legal issues that might be raised by introducing RCCs into society are in fact covered by the existing (European and International) rules on liability in the different areas (product liability, strict liability, fault liability and criminal liability). 12

13 13 Privacy Mrs. A takes her RCC to the RCC-mechanic for its periodic check-up. During this check-up, the mechanic stumbles upon information that is stored in the RCCs memory. Amongst this information are mrs. As bank account number and personal access codes.

14 Privacy (1) Meaning RCCs will receive, obtain and store personal information of their owners (and possibly also of other individuals). Relevance Personal information of individuals on RCCs has to be protected against abuse. Current Legal situation There is European legislation that sets requirements on how personal information is to be handled. Other countries, like Japan and the USA, have their own legislation on the use of and protection standards for use of personal information. Actions Discussion between the participants on the standard of data protection to be used (one single standard orcomplying with the different national standards) 14

15 15 Standardization Mrs. X is an RCC-owner for a while now. When her RCC needs to have certain parts (hardware) replaced, the RCC mechanic orders these parts from country C. He tells mrs. X that these parts are of better quality en thus more durable than the RCC-parts produced in country A.

16 Standardization (1) Meaning Standardization means that a large majority of products or services in a particular business or industry sector conform to certain standards. International standards are developed by the international non-governmental organization ISO. Relevance International standards can provide safety, security and clarity on quality of RCC for all individuals that interact with RCCs. This is also beneficial to producers and manufacturers of RCC (-parts) because it creates a level-playing field in the RCC manufacturing branch. Stimulates worldwide trade. Current Legal situation There is currently an ISO technical committee working on safety standards for personal robots. Under development: ISO/DIS standard non-industrial robots, non medical personal care robots (2012) Close of voting on ISO standard 8373 manipulating industrial robots Accepted: ISO standard Industrial robot safety 16

17 Standardization (2) ISO ISO has 162 national members in different countries around the world. Specifications and criteria for the classification, production, supply, testing, analysis and terminology of products and services are discussed and agreed on in collaboration with the national members and the economic stakeholders in the member countries. Standardization is voluntary and legally not binding unless the standards are incorporated into legislation. Actions First step : communication by industry sector for the need for international standards to national ISO member body According to the ISO/IEC Directives Part 1, the targeted time limit for the completion of the entire process of developing international standards is 3 years. All ISO standards are reviewed at intervals of not more than five years. When necessary, standards are revised earlier. 17

18 18 RCC-Generated Works Mr. J is a retired artist who has ordered a tailor- made functionality for his RCC which enables it to create specific works of art. Although the learning capacity of RCCs causes the RCC to eventually create original works, the artistic output is also, at least partially, determined by the specific functionality (algorithm and database) that the RCC is provided with.

19 RCC-Generated Works (1) Meaning Copyright requires the expression of human creativity. Recognition and consequences of involvement of RCCs in the creation of a copyright-protected work will thus not be self-evident, especially since it is not certain that RCCs will be able to obtain and exercise personal rights. Relevance The self-learning feature of RCCs and their physical possibilities make it quite feasible that RCCs will be able to create copyright-protected works. Current Legal situation No international and European legislation exists on this matter. The United Kingdom has a specific regulation for works created by computers when no human author can be designated as the creator.No other country has legal provisions like this. 19

20 RCC-Generated Works (2) Ethical Issues Whether RCCs should be able to obtain and exercise copyright depends on their autonomy and abilities. Decisions made on legal standing of RCCs also had an effect on the possibilities for RCCs to have copyright. Actions Research to be started in the third year of the Flagship Project (when actual RCC-created works are in the near future). 20

21 21 Conclusions Next steps For all legal issues comparative legal research is needed Keep in mind the interface of law and technology: in every step in the project we need to communicate >law is naturally both normative and reactive >for the FET proposal we should we pro-active…

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