U.S. Copyright Office issues new policy on works created with AI

The U.S. Copyright Office has released a statement of policy addressing the copyrighting of works produced with artificial intelligence (AI).

The statement acknowledges that works generated with “generative AI” have raised questions about whether or not they are eligible for copyright. The statement also addresses the issue of registering works that contain both human-authored and AI-generated material.

It goes ahead to outline what information should be provided to the Office by applicants seeking to register them. It then notes that these questions are no longer hypothetical, given the increase in requests to copyright works created with AI since companies such as OpenAI and StabilityAI began releasing AI-enabled text and image generators in late 2022 and early 2023.

In 2022, author Kris Kashtanova claimed to be the first person to be granted copyright for an AI-created work when her request to register her comic book Zarya of the Dawn, which was produced using AI-generated images, was approved. However, the Copyright Office put the decision under review after discovering that the images had been made using a popular AI generator called Midjourney.

After reviewing the decision, the Copyright Office cancelled its original certification and issued a new one. The elements that Kashtanova created in the work, such as the writing and other original elements, would be protected, while the AI-generated images would not, as only human-made creations are eligible for copyright.

The Copyright Office has stated that its guiding principle for future decisions on the registration of works created with AI is that copyright only protects creations made by humans. Copyright officials evaluating a work submitted for registration will be tasked with determining whether the original choices executed in a work were produced by a human mind or mechanically.

While some cases may be straightforward, such as entering a text prompt into an image generator, which does not qualify as an act of authorship, other cases are likely to require more thought. The statement of policy notes that a human may select or arrange AI-generated material in a sufficiently creative way that “the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship.”

The sources for this piece include an article in ArtNews.

IT World Canada Staff
IT World Canada Staff
The online resource for Canadian Information Technology professionals.

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