The US Copyright Office has declined to give copyright protection to an image created by artificial intelligence, according to Reuters. This is the second time Jason M. Allen has requested copyright protection for his sci-fi image, Theatre D’opera Spatial, which he created using generative AI system Midjourney. The office said that the image isn’t entitled to protection because it wasn’t the product of human authorship.
Allen told Reuters that denying AI artwork copyright protection “is going to cause more problems than it solves.” Allen’s image depicts a futuristic royal court and won the Colorado State Fair’s art competition in 2022 making it the first AI-generated work to win the contest.
Back in February, the US Copyright Office handed down a similar ruling about the graphic novel Zarya of the Dawn by Kris Kashtanova. The office said Kashtanova was entitled to copyright protection for the parts of the book he wrote and arranged, but not the images created by Midjourney. Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howard ruled that AI-generated art can’t be copyrighted.
Not all artists are fighting on the side of AI. In January, a group of artists filed a lawsuit against AI-art companies Stability, Midjourney and DeviantArt for allegedly using artists’ copyrighted work to train AI without gaining consent.
Allen and Kashnatova’s cases are likely just two of many to come as AI takes on a more important role in our lives in the future. Though the technology is still in its infancy, dozens of companies are looking to push the boundaries of AI after ChatGPT stole the spotlight early this year. Open AI’s large language model-based chatbot can generate just about anything you ask for.
While the lack of human input is the deciding factor in denying copyright protections for AI artwork, it’s also one of the main concerns of humans themselves. As businesses strive to use the technology, job security is thrown into question. AI use in movies and TV shows, for example, is a key issue for Hollywood writers and actors on strike.