Federal Judge rules AI-generated Art not eligible for copyright protection

A recent federal court ruling upheld the U.S. Copyright Office’s decision that art created by artificial intelligence (AI) is not eligible for copyright protection, as it lacks human creative input. While the U.S. Copyright Office suggested considering AI-generated work for copyright on a case-by-case basis, the debate continues, impacting the creative industry and raising concerns about AI’s role in artistic creation.

A federal judge upheld a decision from the U.S. Copyright Office which asserts that artworks produced by AI are not eligible for copyright protection. According to U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who issued the ruling, copyright law historically has not extended to “works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand,” as reported by the Hollywood Reporter.

Stephen Thaler, the CEO of Imagination Engines, a neural network company, has been at the forefront of the effort to establish copyright protection for AI-generated creations, as outlined by the Hollywood Reporter. Through his legal action, he contended that AI should be recognized as an “author” and be granted copyright status if it fulfills the criteria for authorship. Thaler’s lawsuit asserted that artistic works produced exclusively by artificial intelligence deserve safeguarding under copyright law.

“In situations where there is no human contribution to the creative process, the unequivocal response aligns with the perspective presented by the Register: No,” Howell articulated, further elaborating that copyright statute exclusively encompasses creations of human origin, as per a report by Mashable.

However, the situation remains somewhat intricate. In March, the U.S. Copyright Office issued guidance indicating its willingness to bestow protection and ownership upon AI-generated works on a case-by-case basis. Essentially, if a creation is solely the product of AI, it falls outside the realm of copyright eligibility. On the other hand, if it stems from a human utilizing AI assistance, it potentially qualifies for copyright protection, reported the Mashable.

“The Office will assess whether the AI contributions result from ‘mechanical reproduction’ or from an author’s own original mental conception, to which (the author) gave visible form,'” clarified Shira Perlmutter, Director of the Copyright Office, during that period.



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Updated: 21 Aug 2023, 11:34 AM IST

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