The U.S. Copyright Office’s current position on AI-generated artwork is that it is not copyrightable if it is created solely by an AI system without any human input. This is because copyright law requires that works be created by a human author.
In 2022, the Copyright Office issued a final determination that a work of art created entirely by an AI system called Creativity Machine was not copyrightable. The Copyright Review Board affirmed the Office’s decision, stating that “copyright law only protects ‘the fruits of intellectual labor’ that ‘are founded in the creative powers of the [human] mind.'”
In 2023, the Copyright Office issued a notice of inquiry in the Federal Register to gather information about current AI technologies and their impact on copyright law and policy. The Office is particularly interested in feedback on the following issues:
- What are the different ways that AI is being used to create and distribute works of art?
- What are the copyright implications of these different uses?
- Are there any changes to copyright law that would be necessary to address the challenges and opportunities presented by AI?
The Copyright Office is expected to issue a report on its findings in 2024.
It is important to note that the Copyright Office’s position on AI-generated artwork is not binding on the courts. However, it is likely to be persuasive to judges in any future cases involving this issue.
In the meantime, artists who use AI in their work should take steps to document their own creative contributions to the work. This will help them to establish copyright ownership in the event that their work is challenged.