The U.S. Copyright Office Launches New Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative.

The U.S. Copyright Office recently launched an initiative to address issues surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and copyright. As AI gains more prominence in society, we need to answer questions about copyrightability and registration.

The Copyright Office has released guidance that aims to tackle these issues, requiring applicants to be transparent about any AI content included in their works and assisting with the correction of pending and registered claims that include AI content.

The Copyright Office will reject registration applications that credit AI as the author or co-author of a work since copyrights can only be granted to works resulting from human creativity. However, copyright protection may still be available for AI software that facilitates the creative process for humans.

Specific Cases Involving AI and Copyright Registration 

In a recent case, AI pioneer Steven Thaler applied for copyright registration for a two-dimensional piece of artwork titled “A Recent Entrance to Paradise” and listed the author as DABUS, a generative AI image system. However, the Copyright Office declined to register the work, stating that DABUS does not meet the human authorship requirement necessary to support a copyright claim.

Copy of “A Recent Entrance to Paradise” from The Copyright Review Board

In another recent case, author Kristinia Kashtanova included AI-generated images in her book “Zarya of the Dawn,” which were created using Midjourney, an AI software that generates images based on text input. Similar programs include ChatGPT and Google Cloud AI.

The Copyright Office deemed the individual images created by Midjourney as not registerable since Ms. Kashtanova was not considered the author for copyright purposes. However, the Copyright Office recognized the text of the work, as well as, the selection and arrangement of the images and text in the book, as copyrightable.

Images of “Zarya of the Dawn” novel from The Official Copyright Registration


Further Discussion

Finally, the Copyright Office has announced plans to conduct public listening sessions during the spring season, inviting artists, professional creatives, AI developers, researchers, and lawyers to participate actively. The sessions will be held in a roundtable format, providing participants with an opportunity to express their questions and concerns about the impact of AI on creative domains.

You can register to attend these events here: Spring 2023 AI Listening Sessions | U.S. Copyright Office

As an IP firm, we will continue to keep our audience informed on the latest updates in relation to patents, trademarks, and copyright cases that take place in the future.

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