It may be trending, but who owns AI-generated artworks?

That’s a question that’s been in the press a lot lately. But while there have been numerous complaints about whether AI-generated artworks are copyrighted, and if so, what laws, we’re still no closer to an answer than we were. The following article will explore the different aspects of Artwork copyright and like it could apply to AI generated art. We will also discuss whether AI can own licenses for artworks and if not, who should own the licenses.

As a nod to the brilliance of the artificially intelligent tools in question, each image in this article was purposefully generated by Dall.E based on inputs relevant to the article’s topic.

It may be trending, but who owns AI-generated artworks?

Can AI own artworks?

We start with a discussion of whether or not AI has legal ownership of the artwork it created. For example, if Dall.E could own the image above, even though I’ve given its composition, style, themes, and overall message, the rest of the article would be moot.

As it turns out, however, a legal act from 2014 already did this Requirements for Copyright pretty clear. Section 306 of the Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition, outlines the very clear human requirement. The section is even titled The Human Authorship Requirement. Below is a quote from the law:

“The US Copyright Office will register an original work as author provided that the work was created by a human being.”

This quote makes it clear that this copyright law protects “fruits of mental labor” only when they are based in the “creative powers of the mind,” as stated in the 1879 Trade-Mark Cases. While this law was introduced in 2014, it has been enacted since the 1800s. In 1884 the court ruled in Burrow-Giles Lithography v. Sarony that “Because the copyright law is limited to”original intellectual conceptions of the author‘The Office refuses to register a claim if it finds that the work was not created by a human being.’

With the need for the human element defined, it seems clear that the AI ​​cannot own the artwork it creates. But if AI cannot own their work, Who can? To answer this question, we must first define the process by which an AI-generated artwork is created, so that we can determine whether the works created are truly original.

Ai who owns the copyright
Image generated by Dall.E

What makes a work of art original?

Historically, artworks have always been a representation of something that the artist in question saw, experienced, or desired. From the moment this man left an ocher handprint on a cave wall, we had a desire for it leave our mark In the world. In terms of visual artworks, this desire usually means glorifying human subjects, capturing nature in our own hands, or using different visual media to transport the viewer to different places.

Yes a pair Artwork is so abstract that it could only come from a human mind, but more often than not we create artworks of either humans, man-made structures, or nature. This is usually accomplished by looking at a subject and trying to capture its perceived beauty. However, sometimes we take a lot of inspiration from the creations of others.

To avoid copyright infringement when replicating another artist’s work, the rule of thumb is that you only have to alter 10% of the artwork for it to be considered an original work. However, this is wrong. There is no amount you have to earn Modifications to a replica of an existing artwork so that it can be considered an original piece. Unfortunately, any replication or adaptation must be approved by the original author of the artwork. You cannot claim authorship of an artwork based on someone else’s work without the appropriate permission of the relevant parties.

The problem arises when we consider that this is the case exactly what AI can do. Artificial intelligence doesn’t just create images out of the blue. It requires a reference library from which to create images. For example, if you instruct an AI to create a cubist image of a guitar on a table, it will draw inspiration from famous cubist artists such as the author of guitar on a tableJuan Gris.

In fact, you can ensure that an artwork is in the style of a famous artist by using the phrase “A painting by X” in your prompt. For example, here is the result of “A Surrealist Painting of a Guitar on a Table by Salvador Dali”.

Image generated by Dall.E

This is almost indistinguishable Dali’s surrealist works. At what point does an artwork directly inspired by a specific artist and movement become an original artwork? Since I used “by Salvador Dali” in the prompt, does that attribute the resulting work to Dali? These are aspects that we simply do not yet have the basis for understanding.

Fortunately, according to the Dall.E EULA, I can freely use this artwork wherever I want, even in an article that falls under commercial use. I didn’t make those strokes though, I didn’t study Dali to get the feel of his works perfect, and I didn’t put a guitar on a table as a reference for the resulting artwork. All I did was type words into an input field and click generate. Is this really my artwork?

So far we have found that AI cannot own art, but we have yet to determine who owns the art created by AI. Perhaps we will never reach a common solution on this point. However, some people have made progress in this particular fight, as we’ll explore in the next section.

The artist who owns AI-generated artworks

Kris Kashtanova is a New York-based artist. Kashtanova recently released a graphic novel that features images created by latent diffusion AI. Kashtanova used Zendaya’s likeness in her prompts as she wanted her comic’s main character to be based on the actress.

She recently managed to copyright her creation. The Zarya of the Dawn comic book is therefore the first example of an AI-generated artwork to be copyright-licensed.

“I have obtained copyright from the US Copyright Office for my AI-generated graphic novel. I was open about how it was done and I put Midjourney on the front page. Nothing else was changed. Exactly as you saw it here.

I’ve tried to argue that if we do something with AI, we own the copyright. I registered it as a work of fine art. My certificate is in the mail and today I received the number and confirmation that it was approved.

My lawyer friend friend gave me this idea and I decided to set a precedent.’

Kashtanova’s actions have taken both the artist and media communities by storm, as this move may have literally set the precedent for how cases involving AI-generated artworks will be handled in the future.

But the problem remains name of this type of artwork; AI generated. That means generated by artificial intelligence. These works were created by AI. Can we really appreciate the work of a machine? When we think of all the other places where machines are involved in the process of making products and delivering services, it seems we can appreciate the work of a machine.

Ai who owns the copyright 3

Who owns AI-generated art?

The question still stands. The fact is, there are simply too many issues that the Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices have yet to address. The only fact that we’ve managed to get some level of clarity on is this AI cannot own artworks. Determining who owns the AI-generated artworks may need to be decided on a case-by-case basis. For each instance we would need to determine the following:

  • Whether the artwork is an original or consists of existing artworks
  • Who owns the rights to the artwork used in a composition?
  • Whether the artwork contains copyrighted images

Depending on how widely and amicably this kind of progress is accepted in the artistic community, we may even have to determine whether this kind of artwork is even possible classified as a work of art at all. The ability to create art is something we humans don’t easily attribute to other species. Yes, we can teach elephants to draw flowers with their trunks, but we have a unique ability to express the world around us and within us. This ability derives from the ability to see beyond the purely physical and engaging pictorial meaning of subjects, situations, and places, an ability that has a lot to do with consciousness itself.

In truth, before we can determine who owns the artworks created by the AI, we may need to determine whether the AI ​​has the ability to truly create artworks based on what it experiences, sees, and desires. Until then, it may be safer to think of these tools as just a paintbrush and a canvas, and the prompts as our hands move across the canvas, creating representations of what we experience, see, and desire.


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