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Images created by AI cannot be protected by copyright

Industrial property law

Images created by AI cannot be protected by copyright

Recently, the US Copyright Office rejected an application filed by artist Jason Allen seeking copyright recognition of an artificial intelligence-generated image that had won an award at the Colorado State Fair contest.

The image, entitled 'Theatre D'opera Spatial', was created in August 2022 using Midjourney. After winning the award, author Jason Allen applied for registration with the US Copyright Office, specified that the final image had been obtained with at least 624 prompts and with subsequent modifications made in Adobe Photoshop.

The office denied registration because the author did not want to exclude the part of the image generated by Midjourney from copyright protection.

There was a similar case a few years ago when Mr. Thaler applied for registration of an image created entirely by A.I.. Copyright protection was denied several times on the grounds that the work was not created by a human creator.

After the rejection in February 2022, Thaler sued the US Copyright Office, but the court, in the person of Judge Beryl A. Howell, held that images generated by artificial intelligence cannot be protected by copyright. Judge Beryl A. Howell stated that copyright cannot be granted for works without any human hand, human authorship being a fundamental requirement of copyright.

Among the cases cited by the judge in support of the decision was the famous selfie taken by the macaque Naruto. The author, being an animal, could not be the copyright holder.