The decision by the US Copyright Office is among the first to deal with AI-generated artwork and intellectual property

A US federal agency has concluded that artwork made using artificial intelligence does not qualify for copyright protections, saying such images were not created by a human being and cannot be registered as legitimate IP.

The US Copyright Office outlined its stance in a recent letter to graphic novelist Kris Kashtanova, who attempted to register a work containing images created with the help of the ‘Midjourney’ AI software. The office would only agree to copyright elements written and arranged by a human author.

“The fact that Midjourney’s specific output cannot be predicted by users makes Midjourney different for copyright purposes than other tools used by artists,” the letter said, adding “The process by which a Midjourney user obtains an ultimate satisfactory image through the tool is not the same as that of a human artist, writer, or photographer.”

The Midjourney system uses text prompts entered by users to generate unique images, mirroring similar AI-based programs that have rapidly grown in popularity in recent years, such as the DALL-E deep learning model. The use of computer-generated art has stoked controversy among creators and consumers alike, with critics warning that automated systems could someday replace human creativity and rob artists of work.

With artificial intelligence advancing at a blistering pace, courts have yet to settle a number of questions surrounding intellectual property and AI art, leaving creators in a state of legal limbo.

In its letter, the Copyright Office explained that some established guidelines could be applied to AI images, noting that works must be “independently created by the author” and have “sufficient creativity.”

“In cases where non-human authorship is claimed, appellate courts have found that copyright does not protect the alleged creations,” it said, citing several prior court decisions.

A lawyer for Kashtanova stated that her graphic novel should be registered for copyright because she “authored every aspect of the work,” maintaining that the Midjourney software was merely an “assistive tool.” The office did not accept that argument, however, ultimately refusing to register any part of her book created using AI.

Kashtanova nonetheless hailed the decision as “great news,” noting that the office did allow copyrights for her novel’s story and “the way the images were arranged.” She added that the guidelines laid would protect “a lot of uses for the people in the AI art community.”

You can still sell AI generations as NFTs though which is what really matters for the get rich quick and other money laundering projects

robot comrades will bring communism! down with IP!

personally I think AI can be a good tool but the current ones don’t give enough artistic control.

Eh, I don’t care.

i mean this is to be expected they have ruled in the past that only human created works can be copyrighted tho it seems kinda whack that they didnt grant copyright for the comic since a comic is far more than just the images in it.

Did you read?

i thought i did but i guess i missed that part

They did grant copyright for everything but the midjourney generated images

AFAICT this doesn’t mean the output isn’t restricted by the licensing of the training data, so art based on copyrighted material (which is the case for every AI art generator I’ve seen, at least) won’t necessarily be legal to use

What ever happened to the lawsuit about companies using copyrighted works without permission to feed their AI?

It’s legal to create derivative work. If the medium of creating that derivative was an AI you’d assume the AI work wouldn’t inherit the copyrights of the original. As long as it isn’t considered plagiarism, my derivative work wouldn’t be owned by the original. Weird Al isn’t breaking patent rights. His work is copyrighted. Weird Ai would follow the same except its work couldn’t be copyrighted.

To be clear, I’m not saying I think it should be illegal to use – copyright should be completely abolished. My point is that in one way it’s similar to sampling music (which isn’t legal without license, AFAIK); in another way, it isn’t technically using the copyrighted art to generate the output, so one might argue that it’s more akin to a human seeing some artwork and drawing something based on their recollection of it

No, I didn’t think you were. I was just offering the counter-point to your original comment.

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