Ai Art Ruled To Be Ineligible For Copyright In The USA

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Since the inception of Gan’s-a foundation of generative AI technologies-in 2014 and Google’s DeapDream in 2015, AI-generated art has grown to captivate the general public in a way it hadn’t before. One of the biggest advantages of AI in art creation is the acceleration of the creative process. Furthermore, Ai tools have allowed artist to create magnificent art spanning from simple portraits to stunning worlds that encapsulate the artist’s imagination.

In recent months, there has been a debate raging over whether or not work created by generative artificial intelligence can be copyrighted. A federal judge ruled that pieces of art created by AI in the U.S are ineligible for copyright protection since human authorship isn’t involved.

Copyright law has “never stretched so far” to “protect works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand,” U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell wrote in the ruling.

“In the absence of any human involvement in the creation of the work, the clear and straightforward answer is the one given by the Register: No,” Howell wrote, adding that copyright law “protects only works of human creation.”

Stephen Thaler, the chief executive of the neural network firm Imagination Engines is at the forefront leading the charge in hopes of copywriting AI works after the copyright agency rejected his second attempt to copyright an artwork titled A Recent Entrance to Paradise in 2022. Thaler described the art piece “as a work-for-hire to the owner of the Creativity Machine” and claimed that the USCO’s “human authorship” requirement was unconstitutional.

Ai Generated Art Copyright In Kenya

Copyright laws in Kenya have no express provisions on whether machines can receive authorship/recognition, judging by the definition of ‘author’ under Section 2 of the Copyright Act. Section 22 of the Copyright Act merely emphasizes that work shall only receive copyright protection if sufficient effort has been expended on making the work, to give it original character.

Furthermore, there isn’t a clear policy or legislative provision defining what amounts to ‘effort’ as defined under the Copyright Act. However, decided cases demonstrate that authorship requires to be attributed to a human mind. This does not, however, mean that attribution cannot extend to programmers and AI inventors and creators.

Section 2 of the Copyright Act 2010 defines artwork as an original work of visual art created by an artist or produced under their authority. Furthermore, section 22(3)(a) describes copyrightable work as work that sufficient effort was expended to it giving it an original character.

Case scenario is where a person keys in data into a machine and in response to the command, the machine then creates a piece of art. The law did not anticipate such developments, hence difficult to answer the question of whether there is sufficient effort expended to qualify auto-art for copyright protection.

READ MORE: Machine-Led Copyright In Kenya And The Place Of Artificial Intelligence In Intellectual Property

Currently, Kenya is taking steps to address the use of AI through the AI task force and the Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO). KECOBO’s Issue number 38 provides a platform for the conversation about Artificial Intelligence and Copyright which will help in regulating the use of AI to ensure the protection of creatives.