Explore the intersection between XR, AI and copyright law with XReco’s innovative legal research. Join IPrightsGR research path for tackling the arising copyright questions related with the licensing of creation and dissemination of XR content in the XReco context.


“Everything you can imagine is real”. This is a well-known quote attributed to P. Picasso, which redefines the line between the real and the imaginary. Following this perspective, the reality perceived by the human senses may be complemented by components generated by the human imagination. Accordingly, the difference between the real and the imaginary (non-real) turns out to be blurred and relativized: the imagination of each subject would ultimately determine what is real.

In a parallel reasoning, this perspective becomes extremely topical nowadays with the advent of “Extended or Expanded Reality” (eXtended Reality-XR). Extended Reality (XR) is an overarching term used to cover all possible variants of blending real and virtual worlds, including Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). Extended Reality is changing the way machines and humans interact and the way we perceive digital content. With Extended Reality, simple enjoyment or interaction with digital content (e.g. participating in a video game or accessing a museum’s digital collection) is replaced by an immersive experience of the subject within a 3D environment, which is comparable to (or perhaps indistinguishable from) physical reality. Accordingly, the distinction between the real and the imaginary and ultimately the very concept of reality is expected to be redefined in the coming years.


Extended Reality applications rely on digital 3D Content. This content often depicts objects and environments of the physical (real) world (e.g. a landscape, a monument, a real person, etc.). These 3D digital objects constitute the ‘extended reality (digital)content’ (XR Content) and are the main element of XR applications. Such applications are increasingly being developed in various sectors: medicine, entertainment, tourism, archaeology, cultural heritage preservation and so on. The Metaverse, i.e. the outcome of development of Virtual Worlds, will be based, among other things, on XR applications.

XR content can be created either ‘manually’, by using appropriate software by a digital artist or programmer, or through an automated process known as ‘3D Reconstruction‘. 3D reconstruction is a technical process involving computer vision, computer graphics and data analysis. XReco intends to create a data-driven ecosystem allowing for creation, sharing, search, discovery and marketing of XR content, supported by AI-based services and based on appropriate copyright management and trusted monetization schemes. XReco technologies integrate AI solutions (including NeRFs and holoportation) and aim at creating XR content and scenes from existing 2D images, faster and without the need for specific coding skills or abundant equipment.


Copyright law fully applies in the XR field: rights over copyrighted content of any kind need to be respected and appropriately cleared. However, at the same time, some particular challenges appear. Indeed, in the XReco context, XR content creation, based on preexisting 2D content by means of AI-based techniques, raises several questions related, among others, with copyright management and licensing.

To begin with, XReco licensing needs need to be put under scrutiny for detecting and assessing all copyright-sensitive acts of use/exploitation of 2D copyrighted material that are expected to take place during the XReco operation. For example, given the broad meaning of reproduction under EU copyright law, any copy of any 2D asset used as input at any stage of XReco workflow –from search and retrieval to the marketplace- needs to be appropriately authorized by respective rightholders, unless if an exception or limitation is applicable.

Moreover, the layers of rights that need to be managed and licensed at the level of newly created XR content need to be closely assessed. In fact, a main question refers to the relationship between underlying 2D content and XR three-dimensional content produced by implementation of XReco’s services. Does newly created XR content constitute derivative creation from underlying 2D content used during the 3D reconstruction process? This is a crucial but complex legal question that affects the copyright status of the XR content. In fact, under certain circumstances rightholders of 2D content may legally have the possibility to control the exploitation of that derivative work, but also to monetize their assets by means of licensing this derivative use of their content.

In addition to that, use and exploitation of a newly created XR content requires licensing solutions that appropriately cover the exercise of all rights involved over XR content. Apart from several layers of rights possibly being at stake, an additional question needs to be tackled: who will be the author and rightholder of a new AI- generated XR asset, knowing that only human authored AI-generated 3D assets may be copyrighted under EU law?

Those are few among several topics that will be subject of legal research within theXReco project, conducted by XReco legal partner Theodoros Chiou from IPrightsGR. XReco legal research is expected to bring novel insights over the unexplored research territory placed at the intersection between AI, XR and copyright law. Those answers will be of a broader interest for copyright law integration on the road towards Virtual Worlds.