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How to Navigate AI with Rachel Kowalski

You’ve come up with the concept, developed a system, and you’ve either created and launched your original course or you’re developing one.

I want you to be smart and strategic about how you protect and publish your brilliant, original content and receive the rewards from it for decades. 

Rachel Kowalski, creator advocate, content writer, and attorney is our expert guest for this episode. She’s well-versed in AI-generated content, original content, and navigating this evolving situation affecting our businesses. 

You’ll learn the following insights: 

  • Optimal conditions for AI;
  • What to look out for in AI software terms and conditions;
  • How and when to copyright your course materials and original content; and 
  • Using AI to expand your global offer.

Plus, learn why your emotional genius is still where it’s at and how to steer around the AI pitfalls.


Find Rachel Kowalski on LinkedIn or her website

The United States Federal Register Guidance on Copyright and AI




This podcast content is made available by Rachel A. Kowalski, Esq., The Creative Lawyers, for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this podcast you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and Rachel A. Kowalski, Esq., The Creative Lawyers. The podcast should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

Listen to All of the Course Creation Incubator Podcasts


Gina Onativia: Rachel Kowalski, welcome to the podcast.

Rachel Kowalski: Hi, thanks for having me today. I’m excited. I’m excited, too. I’ve been wanting you on the podcast for the longest time I was talking about you in the Intro and how we are longtime collaborators. So let’s dive in, because I know a lot of my listeners have questions about AI and what it means in terms of courses.

Gina Onativia: And I was just on a workshop the other day I was teaching a workshop right? You don’t know this. But AI came up everything I teach now. Every workshop I teach it, it comes up. It’s a hot topic, right? I’m sure people are asking you as a content developer and as a lawyer, right? That it’s always always abound. Yeah. So for just tell me, what do you think? As a lawyer, as a content expert as a course expert, what are your overall thoughts about AI.

Rachel Kowalski: Yeah. So it’s interesting that you said that it’s coming up a lot because it is coming up a lot for me as well, in fact, I was at dinner last night, and it a hundred percent came up with regard to creating content. And you know, what were they gonna be able to use. You know what protectable. And so I’d have to say almost every other day. It does come up in conversation.

Rachel Kowalski: So you know you know me, Gina. I’m really about innovation. I think it’s exciting and creativity, and whatever can ease that or augment that and make that better, I’m usually a fan of. But then there’s that lawyer side of me that you know. That is also very cautionary. So I like, yeah, know everything about it. So you know, I think like with everything else, there is a time and a place for artificial intelligence for AI. So if you think about it, you know AI has been around in many aspects for quite some time, and so I know there’s a lot of fear. People come to me as a lawyer because they’re fearful about it, or even as a creative.

Rachel Kowalski: And if people really stopped and thought about it, you know, to help ease the fear around it. For sure, like, I think, you know, there’s always been image recognition for a really long time or audio transcription. You know, we’ve been living around this for a really long time. So I usually kind of talk to people a little bit about that, like, you know. Don’t be fearful. There’s always gonna be a really good placement for it, you know. And so I think anything that can augment and assist, creativity is brilliant. So I think there’s like a lot of personally, I feel like there’s a lot of benefits. So I’ll kind of talk about those a little bit, you know. I think that of course we know it makes things faster, you know it saves time. You know, as a ghostwriter myself, along with being a lawyer, you know. I think it’s great for research or a quick proofread even.

Rachel Kowalski: I think it also can ease writer’s block. Now, not say, be the writer. We’ll get to that. Yeah, but it ease writer’s block. So you know, it can help jump, start the creative process by generating ideas, or say, like writing prompts, you know, in that capacity you can also write like short content. So if you’re writing a book proposal right? And you’re wanting to create a summary or a brief description.

Rachel Kowalski: And I also think, as you would know, being this, you know, expert marketer as well as course. Creator, you know, improves your SEO, which can help your articles. You know it. It. It basically helps you create some more relevant content to your target audience. You know, it can help focus that. And lastly, what I think, is also exciting, which I was talking to some about last night is that it can also help scale your content, so help generate it in multiple formats and languages, so you can reach a broader audience and expand your reach like globally. So we’ll also, I’d like to talk about that a little bit more, you know, in this podcast, because there’s also a way to approach that.

Rachel Kowalski: So you know, those are all the major pros that I’m really excited about. Now, you know, just briefly talking about the concerns. These have been talked about ad nauseum, so I don’t know that we know we need to spend a lot of time on them. But you know there’s quality concerns information. Right? Copyright infringement plagiarism. All of that comes up. And you know the 2, there’s like an ethical concern. So you know, sometimes people have Chat GPT create something. But there’s some bias. There could be some bias there that they may not be aware of. So it could favor one group based on race gender, or like other characteristics. And this can be really subtle. So people may not pick up on what Chat Gdp or not just chat. But any AR I don’t. Wanna I don’t wanna call out a certain platform. But you know any AI generator, you know, this can be a challenge and the 2 bigger things I would have to say is that when you put your content, like some people are putting their content into a platform, know how that platform uses your content. You wanted to be really careful, like I wouldn’t say never do that, but you could lose the rights to your content in the in the respect that it becomes part of this generative content machine.

Gina Onativia: Okay, wait time out here. Cause I didn’t even think about this before we hopped on. So say, you talk about doing a summary right? And say, I have a course, lesson or hack, like a blog, or maybe a podcast, outline or a podcast script. I could put it in there wanting a post or a summary highlights?

Rachel Kowalski: So I put my content into this machine right? So what are the what are you saying? Are the ramifications of that. So you I can’t. I’d have to go through each and individual platform, which okay, just talk what I would say whenever you use the platform. You want to go to their terms of use and their privacy policy and read. How do they use your content? How do they use your information. How do they use what you put into their platform?

Rachel Kowalski: And that will vary, you know, and it will vary with different stages like, let’s just say, in the positive chat, Ddp has 2 different levels, right? They have a basic level, and they have a pro level. And I know on the pro level, you can set it where it doesn’t hold a history of what for very long, and that’s that’s a positive for them having a chance to like. Bring it into the machine. So that’s that’s my general guidance, because I don’t want it. This will be changing all the time as well. So I don’t wanna memorialize something on this podcast that may not stand past.

Rachel Kowalski: Yes, you know, yesterday changing, this is changing like day by day, minute by minute. But that is my advice, for you know, how is your content being used? How is your personal information being used by these platforms? Yeah, I think that’s really smart. I’m sorry. Go ahead. Yeah. So just always, you know. Always check that. And then you know, one thing that I have thought through as, and this is coming more from a ghost writer is that if you think about it, AI. Generally, it kind of lacks that emotional intelligence. To create a story can be descriptive right, and can come up with really good words and facts, and maybe word something really slick.

Rachel Kowalski: But you can feel I don’t know about you. Well, I know you. You can. You know we can feel when a real story is being told with emotion. And so I think that, you know, is, is a really really important aspect, and here’s the like, probably the biggest thing for creators to keep in mind. This would be my my final like. Nugget like importance is like, just remember that. AI, it can’t. It’s not a new idea. Generator.

Rachel Kowalski: Yeah, okay, so it’s not like, give me a prompt and I’m gonna you know, we’re gonna create these new innovative ideas for you. They use existing data for content. So there’s not latest trending ideas and topics. It may not be as fresh and innovative as you could do for yourself.

Gina Onativia: Yeah, yeah, okay. I love this. All right, let’s let’s break this down a little bit because I wanna go back to what you were saying about emotional intelligence, and to tell a story like I was looking online the other day on XI can’t even call it X Twitter, whatever you wanna call it. And this guy called out this story, and he’s like I could totally tell. This is AI, because there was a lack of emotion. There was no real story to it.

Gina Onativia: It was all about facts and figures right? And he’s like, I know this is AI generated, and I think we, as course creators are storytellers like I had Beau Ison on here. I had don. And story is so important and telling those personal, vulnerable details of, I was just recording a podcast earlier about how I was feeling vulnerable cause I was sick. And then, my pop, my website went down right? And that like kind of vulnerability. It’s just so important. And it’s something that AI can’t add to the equation

Rachel Kowalski: yeah, these very unique personal, emotive stories and feelings. And I think that’s the real values that’s like creatives also come to me like they’re worried that AI is gonna take over their job writers anymore. You know. And and II disagree with that I think you know we’ve had. There’s always been an advent of something. You know, computers, photographs.

Rachel Kowalski: you know, we’re Comp. We’re always gonna be innovating as a society, and I think the real key here is to create along with it, and know when to be your most creative self, and make sure you put that in there, and when to use it to help expedite something, or when you get stuck.

Rachel Kowalski: or you know, when you just want something kind of proof read, or you want to get some insight as to how to maybe word something differently, get a little bit of creative ideas, and then go back and start writing again. Yeah, like using it as a source of inspiration. Right? It’s a tool toolbox tool necessarily like the source.

Gina Onativia: Absolutely. Okay. So I love what you’re saying, and that it’s not the new idea generator like you’re the new idea generator, right? That’s how I feel about it. Personally, I that’s smart, though I think you’re right. And we as creators, we still have the responsibility to innovate right to be creators like that’s in the name. I’m curious because I’ve you’ve seen them, too, like here’s how to generate your course outline. Right? There’s General we will name who. But there’s they’re out there. I feel about those. So I again think it should be inspiration if you’re kind of stuck. But if you don’t know your process and your outline.

Rachel Kowalski: We’ve got challenges here, in my opinion, as a as a course consultant. What do you think about these outline generators? Right? So you know I have mixed. I have mixed feelings. So I have like a personal feeling. But then I also just have a professional guidance feeling about it. So okay, give me, I think that you know, as a creative. And for creatives. I think what’s really gonna grab your audience is when ideas do come from you. And it’s it’s getting back to that core. Fresh ideas, innovated concepts, and those aren’t going to come from AI. You know, A, a a generator. It’s it’s just not going to. Now, one thing that you could do. Now this, this would come down to almost like this, this talk about copyright. So when course creators are creating courses and they wanna create an outline

Rachel Kowalski: now? Like a week ago I was talking to a course creator just randomly about how she was trying to do it, and I said, Well, you know, here’s some here, just my general guidance, as far as how would you use AI in this properly? And so you know she could do. General ideas, you know, as a course creator, general outline get general prompts, you know. Get a structure, maybe in mind. But then go back almost like when you’re writing a book outline. Then you go back and you write those pieces like final text, let that text come from you, and that’s just more about how I would approach it, because when it comes down to copyright protection, you know, you write a course, and you want this to be successful. So you want to be able to protect this, and you don’t want it to be easily just copied or recreated, or, you know, restructured by somebody else. And so the point to be would be to be able to get this copyright and establish it and be able to legally protect it. And so the way the copyright office deals with this, it all comes down to 2 terms. So in March of this year they actually issue guidance. And it’s really helpful guidance on the copyright Gov website for works containing you know, material generated by AI,

Rachel Kowalski: and what they did is they really strengthened the point. They reiterated the human authorship requirement. And so just for those that don’t know what copyright is, it’s it protects original works by human creators. So human authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression. So we can talk about like written music images, all of that. It’s not ideas.

It’s not facts, and it’s not concepts, unless those are described or explained or illustrated, like, fixed in a tangible medium of expression. And so that’s why I tell creatives or course creators like. Sure you know what? It’s okay to maybe get some concepts or some ideas. Or, you know, a structure in mind that’s not really copy right material, actually go to fix the course like right the course, write the book, write the content. That’s where authorship comes into play.

Rachel Kowalski: and you know, they’ve been really really clear that copyright protection does not extend to nonhuman creators. So you know, if that’s an obvious problem with it, generated works right? I mean, that tells you right there.

Rachel Kowalski: So it has to be a human creator mostly. But the thing with this guidance that is is really useful as that. There’s also these these levels of guidance. With regard to AI and human authorship. 


Gina Onativia: Okay, so okay, so there’s 2 levels. So tell me what the 2, the 2 levels are. The 2 tiers.

Rachel Kowalski: right? So the 2 tiers or the 2. The 2 distinctive terms are de minimis and appreciable. So remember, you have 2 different. You know this is 2 different spectrum. So you think about the spectrum. We have not much at all appreciable, which is, like most of it. So think about like No. AI, completely human and completely AI generated everything in between sliding scale. Yeah. And so when I give guidance to creatives, as far as like, okay, so you’re gonna create some concepts and some framework.

Rachel Kowalski: That’s pretty de minimis. When it comes to the actual course, you know the the appreciable amount of content you’re gonna lot of content that’s not covered in your all of that text you actually wrote all of that text. It had this structure here. But you went and you filled in all of the really, you know, concepts and wrote around all of that. And so in that respect it would be so diminished you wouldn’t even have to claim it on a copyright application. Okay? And that’s what we’re striving for. I’m assuming. That’s what we’re striving for. That’s the optimal. I mean the optimal optimum. And in my eyes is you do all of this, you know. Really, you come up with these amazing ideas. You figure out your client path, and the journey that you want to send them on. But let’s just say you get stuck on that, and you know that’s that’s not your sweet spot of creation.

Gina Onativia: you know, I’m sure get AI to help the wheels going to help prompt you, starting all of that. But create all of that content, yeah.

Rachel Kowalski: or like like an illustrator. And you’re you’re gonna do the illustrations in your course as well, you know. Try to do the illustration yourself, and maybe minor photoshop AI to like sharpen something or sweeten something. So that’s de minimis. And you can even claim it, you know, in that point you’d be like, look, I created this either document or this image. And you state just very it’s very simple that you have this statement that you put in there, that AI came over and edited it, or AI came and you know, softened the image, you know, whatever that case might be, and you can just very simply state what you had. AI do. Yeah, okay.

Gina Onativia: that is my general solid guidance for guidelines, trouble for copy, you know, for copyright registration. I think that’s very helpful. Actually, II tend to use AI when I need something very foundational and beginner. And I, my brain can’t go back to remember, like how to explain something from the very beginning. Right? Because if I’m too far down the line on something, how do I explain something and break it down in a way that makes sense and then that prompts me. Oh, yeah, got it. Then then I can figure out how to explain it. But I would. I would never use it, and I know I get it. I’m a content. Creator. Might be easy for you right? It’s easy for you and I. So I guess if people are listening and they wanna use it more.

What would you say right? For, like those who content doesn’t come as easily.

Rachel Kowalski: I would I would just maybe pitch and catch with AI. Maybe that’s good way to say it. Don’t put in a prompt and expect it to generate a whole chapter. Let’s just say, or you know, let’s just say a section, of course, and it generates you put in a prompt, and it generates all of the text for that. then none of that would be copyrightable and would not be able to protect yourself. Right? If you’re willing to accept that. There’s always that camp as well. If you’re willing to accept that, you’re gonna put the course out there, and you’re not worried about copyright protection because it’s been AI generated. That is always an option.

Rachel Kowalski: Not that’s that’s like worst case option quite honestly. But you know you kind of want to be more on the de minimis side. So that even let’s say you create. There was a graphic comic book. This is a very infamous case. Now, with regard to AI, okay. And it was Zara of the dead. And what happened is the author created this graphic novel, Zara of the Dead, and wrote all text, all that was original. Then she created all of the images in mid journey, and only photoshopped very fine. So let’s just say I have, like the the image that was generated by mid journey with shadow on the lip, Photoshop that out.

And so she claimed that, you know she was trying to claim that that was a enough of a, you know, appreciable change that she should have the copyrights, the images long story short. So originally she had applied for the copyright, got the copyright for the whole graphic novel then had put on social media that the images have been created by AI by mid journey and copyright office was like, Oh, okay, went back and revisited it. Kind of stripped it of its copyright registration, and then they kind of went back and forth about it now as it stands, that now the text is copyright registered and protected. And the interesting right?

Gina Onativia: Okay. Okay. All right, Ray. I know you and I can go back and forth all day on this and talk about sidebars. What’s something that we haven’t covered that you wanted? You wanted us to know as course creators.

Rachel Kowalski: The way to think about AI, right now for me is, I like how it expands your options, your your global offerings. And I think that’s a really exciting piece of this. And so a really good example is, you write a book. Let’s just say, let’s just say a short book. and it’s first

written in. Let’s just say it’s written in Spanish. First, you know Spanish is your first language. You’ve written it in Spanish, and then you use AI to translate that book into English.

So you’ve authored it in one language, and then you had AI translate it into another one, and what I would say is whatever version, like English, whatever your first version that you wrote yourself. Register that with the copyright office, then you have AI, translate that original copyrighted material and you can get it in German, and you know whatever language you want. But you hold the copyright to that original text. So if someone infringes upon that, it actually goes back to, let’s say they infringe on the English version, right? The original version is Spanish. They infringe on the English, you know site version of it. Then it goes back to the copyright protection of the original copyright. Not the translated version. That’s helpful. But I think that’s like really clever and helpful. So when I say, this is like, expand your offerings. No, don’t be fearful in that way, but be smart like always copyright, protect your original, and then generate what you want off of that. Get that original authored content, human, authored, content, protected, and then start playing around with, you know the translations with the expansions, whatever you want.

And I think that’s a clever way to use AI and still be protected moving forward.

Okay, awesome. That is a hugely great tip. Thank you, Rachel. Where can we learn more about your ghost writing, lawyer services, whatever whatever you want to tell us about.

Rachel Kowalski: right? Well, I’m more than happy to connect to anyone you know reach out to me on Linkedin and it’ll be a creative lawyer and ghost writer.

So I’m a lawyer and go started. That’s how you know it’s me, Rachel Kowalski, you know, toss me out a note with a question connect with me there. I also have a website which is the creative So if you wanna talk about more of these nuances of copyright, if you wanna learn about other ways to protect, you know whether it’s trademark, or you know other ways to protect your content or expand it. Talk about this expansion, piece

Gina Onativia: Okay, perfect. We’ll link to both of those in the show notes, and thanks again for coming on and sharing your expertise.

Rachel Kowalski: My pleasure.

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