U.S judge says AI-generated artwork cannot be copyrighted

Emre Çitak
Aug 21, 2023

United States District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell has recently determined that AI-generated artwork cannot be copyrighted. This decision has stirred significant discussions within the tech, art, and legal communities, challenging conventional notions of authorship and intellectual property rights.

Judge Howell's ruling, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter and various reputable sources, states that AI-generated art lacks the essential element of "human authorship," a bedrock requirement for copyright protection.

This decision could have far-reaching consequences for the art industry, AI developers, and copyright holders. It not only impacts the protection of AI-generated art but also has implications for ongoing debates surrounding AI's role in creative processes.

Judge Beryl A. Howell states: “Copyright has never stretched so far, however, as to protect works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand, as plaintiff urges here. Human authorship is a bedrock requirement of copyright,”.

AI-generated art copyright
A. Howell says ''copyright has never stretched so far'' about AI-generated arts - Image courtesy of Rochak Shukla/Freepik

AI art in the spotlight

The court's decision has brought the spotlight onto the intersection of artificial intelligence and creativity. As AI algorithms create increasingly intricate and captivating pieces of art, questions arise about the legal and ethical dimensions of ownership and recognition. This ruling raises questions about who should be credited as the creator when AI systems produce remarkable works.

While this ruling has provided clarity on one aspect of AI-generated art, it also sparks debates about the future of creativity, innovation, and ownership. Some argue that AI systems are, in a way, tools wielded by human creators and should be considered as extensions of human ingenuity.

Others suggest that such a ruling might discourage investment in AI art projects, such as OpenAI's GPT-5, as creators may fear the inability to protect their works.

Hollywood and beyond

Interestingly, the ruling's implications extend beyond the art world. The decision may influence ongoing labor disputes within the entertainment industry, including writers' of Prosecraft and actors' strikes.

As AI-generated content becomes more prevalent, defining authorship and ownership becomes crucial not only for copyright but also for the recognition of contributors.

Featured image credit: Image by vecstock on Freepik


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