AI-created pictures can't be copyrighted - and that's wrong


Staff Member
4 Jun 2021
5,123 (4.49/day)
AI painting.jpg

The use of AI in art is facing a setback after a ruling that an award-winning image could not be copyrighted because it was not made sufficiently by humans.

The decision, delivered by the US copyright office review board, found that Théâtre d’Opéra Spatial, an AI-generated image that won first place at the 2022 Colorado state fair annual art competition, was not eligible because copyright protection “excludes works produced by non-humans”.

Artist Jason Allen claimed his use of the online AI-platform Midjourney allowed him to claim authorship of the image because he “entered a series of prompts, adjusted the scene, selected portions to focus on, and dictated the tone of the image”. But the board ruled that “if all of a work’s ‘traditional elements of authorship’ were produced by a machine, the work lacks human authorship, and the Office will not register it”.

I agree with the artist as the drawing wouldn't exist without his ideas and computer inputs and hence should be protected by copyright. The computer was merely the tool used to physically translate those inputs into a drawing. That amazing picture above was created by Jason Allen directing the computer, so how can it not be protected by copyright.

It's not so different to electronic music produced in Cubase, say. Sure, all the samples and special effects are there, but it took a human to string them together into the kinds of epic tunes I like to post on NerdZone.



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Well-known member
5 Jul 2021
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Broadly speaking I agree with Retro [on this subject specifically :)] - they probably had the same problem when someone invented the paintbrush. Copyright is always a grey area - recall the selfie taken by a monkey after the camera operator set him a trap. The image won an award, but many argued the money should have gone to the monkey. But I think due consideration should be given as to whether entries from differing methods should be judged in the same set. It's a bit like entering a cake you bought from the shop in a home-made cake baking contest.
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