Tech and Science

AI-generated art can’t get copyrights, says US court

A work of art created by artificial intelligence without human intervention cannot be copyrighted under US law, a US court in Washington, DC has ruled.

Only works by human authors can receive copyrights, US District Judge Beryl Howell said Friday, confirming the US Copyright Office's denial of a request by computer scientist Stephen Thaler on behalf of his DABUS system.

Friday's decision follows losses for Thaler in bidding for US patents for inventions he believes were created by DABUS, short for Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience.

Thaler has also applied for DABUS-generated patents in other countries, including the UK, South Africa, Australia and Saudi Arabia, with limited success.

Thaler's attorney, Ryan Abbott, said Monday that he and his client disagreed with the decision and would appeal. The Copyright Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

The fast-growing field of generative AI has raised novel intellectual property issues. The Copyright Office has also denied an artist's request for copyrights to images generated using the Midjourney AI system, although the artist argued that the system was part of his creative process.

Several pending lawsuits have also been filed alleging the unauthorized use of copyrighted works to train generative AI.

“We're approaching new frontiers in copyright as artists integrate AI into their toolbox,” which will raise “challenging questions” for copyright, Howell wrote on Friday.

“However, this case isn't nearly as complex,” Howell said.

Thaler applied for a copyright in 2018 for “A Recent Entrance to Paradise,” a visual work of art he says was created by his AI system without human intervention. The office rejected the request last year on the grounds that creative works must come from human authors in order to be protected by copyright.

Thaler challenged the decision in federal court, arguing that human authorship is not a specific legal requirement and allowing AI copyrights is consistent with copyright's purpose as set out in the US Constitution, “to further the advancement of science and the useful arts.” support financially”.

Howell agreed with the Copyright Office, saying that human authorship is a “fundamental requirement of copyright” based on “century-long understanding.” (Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington, Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Conor Humphries)

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