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Do I own the copyright in the AI images I created?

Brett Trout

In the United States, as of the date of this post, you do not own the copyright in any AI work you create. The United States Copyright office has stated explicitly, that “it is well-established that copyright can protect only material that is the product of human creativity.” In reaching this conclusion, the Copyright Office relies on the case of Naruto v. Slater for the proposition that non-humans, such as monkeys, cannot create a copyrightable work.

So how can you protect your AI-generated images? Presently, the Copyright Office will allow you to register copyright in material that was only partially AI-generated. So if you create an AI image, then modify it sufficiently to constitute artistic contribution, you own copyright in that portion of the AI-generated image that you authored.

Your contribution may include the addition of human-generated text or images, and/or the selection, coordination, and arrangement of portions of image. You may even register your copyright in an AI-generated image with human-created portions. To do so, you must describe, in the copyright form, the portions of the image that were created by a human and those items that were AI-generated. Those portions of the image that were AI-generated will be specifically excluded from any resulting copyright registration.

Be aware though that this is a rapidly-changing area of the law, and that the rules outlined above may very well change in the near future.

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Posted in AI, Artificial Intelligence, Copyright Law, Internet Law. Tagged with , .