The U.S. Copyright office has ruled that an AI can’t place a copyright on its own work of art. The Verge reports that this case from 2019 [PDF].
A board of three people ruled over a 2019 case involving Steven Thaler. Mr. Thaler is an artist who tried to copyright a piece of art that was created by Creativity Machine, an AI. The board voted against Mr. Thaler, ruling that the art couldn’t be copyrighted because it didn’t include an element of “human authorship.”
According to the document, Mr. Thaler filed an application to register a copyright claim for the artwork. The author of the piece was Creativity Machine, and Mr. Thaler listed himself as the owner of the AI. He said that the artwork “was autonomously created by a computer algorithm running on a machine” and he wanted to register the piece as “a work-for-hire to the owner of the Creativity Machine.”
As The Verge reports, Mr. Thaler wanted to see if a court would legally protect works created with the use of an AI or algorithms in general. In the past he also tried to argue (unsuccessfully) that an AI could patent inventions in the U.S.