Any image that is produced by giving a text message to current generative AI models, such as or , cannot be copyrighted in the US. That’s according to the US Copyright Office (USCO, for its acronym in English), who has equated such directions with a buyer giving instructions to a commissioned artist. “They identify what the pointer wants rendered, but the machine determines how those instructions are implemented in its output,” the USCO wrote in its Federal Register publication.
“When an AI technology receives only a human input and produces complex written, visual, or musical works in response, the ‘traditional elements of authorship’ are determined and executed by the technology, not the human user,” the statement stated. office.
He noted that the level of human creativity involved in a work is an important consideration as to whether it will grant copyright protection. He suggested that current AI models cannot generate copyrighted works. “Based on the Office’s understanding of currently available generative artificial intelligence technologies, users do not exercise ultimate creative control over how such systems interpret prompts and generate material,” the USCO said. “From the point of view of the Office, it is well established that copyright can protect only material that is the product of human creativity.” In one famous case, the bureau ruled that
When it comes to works that contain AI-generated material, USCO considers whether the model’s contributions to the work are the result of “machine reproduction” (i.e., generated in response to text prompts) or whether they represent the ” property” of the author. mental conception”. The current rules state that the USCO “will not register works produced by a machine or a mere mechanical process that operates randomly or automatically without any creative input or intervention by a human author.”
However, the office has left the door open to grant copyright protections for working with AI-generated items. “The answer will depend on the circumstances, particularly how the artificial intelligence tool works and how it was used to create the final work,” he said. “This is necessarily a case-by-case investigation. If the traditional elements of authorship in a work were produced by a machine, the work lacks human authorship and will not be registered by the Office.”
Last month, the USCO declared that images generated by Midjourney and used in a graphic novel were not copyrighted. However, he said that the text and design by Kris Kashtanova Zarya of the Dawn may receive copyright protection. The office said there was too much “distance” between the Kashtanova entrances and the Midjourney exits for the images to be copyrighted. Kashtanova’s lawyers that by focusing on the outcome rather than the input, the office “applied the wrong legal standard.”
In the meantime, USCO has yet to further explore copyright law and AI-related policy issues following requests from Congress and the public. He will host several panel discussions on the issues in April and May. The office plans to solicit public comment later this year on a number of copyright issues related to the use of AI.