Federal Judge
Federal Judge

Federal Judge declares AI Art ineligible for copyright protection

What To Know

  • A federal judge ruled in line with a decision from the U.
  • On the other hand, if a human utilizes AI assistance in the creative process, the work might be eligible for copyright.
  • Shira Perlmutter, Director of the Copyright Office, elaborated, “The Office will consider whether the AI contributions are the result of ‘mechanical reproduction’ or instead of an author’s ‘own original mental conception, to which gave visible form.
  • In a related context, the Writers and Actors in the WAG/SAG-AFTRA union have been on strike for over 100 days, partially due to concerns that studios might utilize generative AI for scriptwriting and acting in films.

A heated debate has been ongoing regarding whether creative works produced by generative artificial intelligence can be subject to copyright. While some federal judges have strongly opposed the idea, others have supported it. In a recent development, computers faced a setback.

A federal judge ruled in line with a decision from the U.S. Copyright Office that art pieces generated by AI are not eligible for copyright protection. The ruling, delivered by U.S. District Federal Judge Beryl Howell, emphasized that copyright law has historically not covered “works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand.”

Stephen Thaler, CEO of Imagination Engines, a neural network company, has been advocating for AI-generated works to be eligible for copyright. Thaler’s lawsuit argued that AI should be recognized as an “author” under specific criteria and that purely AI-created works should be protected by copyright law.

Federal Judge Howell countered this argument by stating that when there’s no human involvement in the creative process, copyright protection does not apply. She clarified that copyright law is intended to safeguard only creations of human origin.

However, the situation remains complex. The U.S. Copyright Office issued guidance in March indicating openness to granting protection and ownership to AI-generated works on a case-by-case basis. Essentially, if AI creates something entirely on its own, it cannot be copyrighted. On the other hand, if a human utilizes AI assistance in the creative process, the work might be eligible for copyright.

Shira Perlmutter, Director of the Copyright Office, elaborated, “The Office will consider whether the AI contributions are the result of ‘mechanical reproduction’ or instead of an author’s ‘own original mental conception, to which gave visible form.'”

This issue poses challenges for artists, those in the creative field, and art enthusiasts alike. In a related context, the Writers and Actors in the WAG/SAG-AFTRA union have been on strike for over 100 days, partially due to concerns that studios might utilize generative AI for scriptwriting and acting in films. This could potentially render certain jobs redundant and lead to a decline in the quality of television content.

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