AI Copyright Law EXPLAINED
Can you copyright ai generated content?
In this video, I’m going to explain the latest guidance on AI contracts and break it down into simple terms.
I will discuss what you can do to protect your work and ensure you are not infringing the copyright of others.
Copyright Protection for AI-Generated Works
The U.S. Copyright Office recently clarified that copyright protection only applies to material created by humans, not AI.
The office evaluates AI-generated works on a case-by-case basis and requires disclosure of the human author’s contributions.
This means that determining whether a work is AI-generated or human-made is not straightforward. It requires human input to make that determination.
Key Concept: Human Creativity and AI Copyright
To be eligible for copyright protection, a work must be created by a human.
The office defines that a work can only receive copyright if there is sufficient human creativity involved.
Applicants must disclose the use of AI-generated content and exclude it from registration.
Only those elements authored by a human are eligible for copyright.
Graphic Novel with AI-Generated Images
One example provided in the guidance document is a graphic novel comprising human-authored text combined with images generated by the AI service “Midjourney.”
The office concluded that the graphic novel as a whole constituted a copyrightable work.
However, the individual images generated by AI themselves could not be copyrighted.
Clarification and the Role of Human Authorship
The clarification emphasizes that the book as a whole, including the story, combination of images, and coherent artwork, counts as copyrightable.
The individual images cannot be copyrighted because they were not authored by a human.
Additionally, it is noted that copyrighting the likeness of a famous actress, such as in the case of the character Zarya resembling Zendaya, would pose copyright issues.
Traditional Elements of Authorship and AI
The document provides an example of a poem written in the style of William Shakespeare using text-generating technology.
Although recognizable as a poem mentioning copyright and resembling Shakespeare’s style, the rhyming pattern, word choice, and structure are determined by technology.
This material is not protected by copyright unless it undergoes edits and modifications by a human.
The Spectrum of Computer-Generated and Human-Generated Works
Determining the point at which work becomes computer-generated or human-generated is challenging.
There is a spectrum ranging from completely computer-generated to works that involve significant human input.
Copyright law will need to define this arbitrary line.
Technological Tools and Creative Process
The policy clarifies that technological tools can be part of the creative process.
Authors have long used such tools to create, modify, transform, or adapt their works.
What matters is the extent of human creative control over the work’s expression and the formation of traditional elements of authorship.
The Need for Clarifying Contemporary Elements of Authorship
The term “traditional elements of authorship” should be replaced with “contemporary elements of authorship.”
It highlights the importance of understanding computational language and abstracting concepts from different models of the universe.
Good prompt writing is a creative skill that involves inserting human authorship into AI-generated works.
Challenges and Public Listening Sessions
The copyright office is hosting public listening sessions to explore various viewpoints on the new technology.
However, keeping up with rapidly evolving technology poses challenges.
Issues of Fake Music, Fake Listeners, and AI Recreations
There are also challenges faced by platforms like Spotify in purging AI-generated songs and combating fake music and listeners.
It raises larger questions about protecting artists’ styles, whether in music, visual arts, or text.
Legal Cases and Copyright Infringement
Several legal cases have emerged involving copyright infringement related to AI-generated content.
Getty Images has filed a lawsuit against Stability AI for allegedly using over 12 million copyrighted photos without permission.
Artists have sued Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantART for mass copyright infringement.
Microsoft GitHub and OpenAI are also facing a lawsuit related to AI coding aid.
Uncertain Future and Complex Implications
The outcome and implications of these lawsuits remain uncertain.
AI copyright raises numerous issues for existing copyright law, and the path forward is unclear.
As time goes on, these issues are expected to become even more complex and challenging.
The field of AI copyright presents challenges in determining the extent of human authorship and protecting creative works.
Clarifying contemporary elements of authorship, addressing evolving technology, and finding a balance between human and AI contributions will be crucial in shaping the future of copyright law.
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