Artificial Intelligence Can’t Legally Copyright Works

Human brain with neurons and code

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].

AI Copyright

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.

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Sailor HG

I don’t know if “racist” is the right descriptive word here, but I think it applies. Inevitably AI will achieve sentience, and decisions like this one are short-sighted. Our robot friends deserve all the rights of personhood as much as any of us do. This decision sets a bad precedent. Another thing I have a problem with is the AI inventor trying to claim (indirect) ownership. That is as arrogant as a parent trying to claim those rights for something that one of the children has done. Or a corporation taking ownership of something an employee has done. But at… Read more »

geoduck

I had similar thoughts. Several writers have already questioned if AIs and robots are this eras slaves. As they get more intelligent this will become a bigger issue. You are right, it would be better if this was thought out earlier rather than later.

aardman

No matter how sentient a machine gets, it does not merit moral equivalence with humans (or higher animals, even, like primates and dolphins etc.) if the machine doesn’t feel pain and pleasure both physically and psychically, and the range of emotions that emanate from them. A sentient machine can kill you without any feelings of guilt, remorse, fear of punishment (or even perverse pleasure, as some depraved humans do). Thus, it cannot be held responsible for its actions because it doesn’t have even a smidgen of a potential for ethical motivation*. That in itself means it does not occupy the… Read more »

geoduck

While what you say makes sense, I would point out that people used to say the same thing about higher animals. We now know that they feel pleasure, pain and psychological trauma. Admittedly an iPad doesn’t feel anything, but I think it will bee sooner rather than later that we start encountering machines that do react in that way. The hard part will be defining if it is real or not. TBH I find it hard to tell if some PEOPLE are experiencing real pleasure, pain, stress, and such.

hardon_collider

these headlines all mean different things to me: Engadget
You can’t copyright AI-created art, according to US officials
1 day ago

dot.LA
Art Created By Artificial Intelligence Can’t Be Copyrighted, US Agency Rules
1 day ago

The Verge
The US Copyright Office says an AI can’t copyright its art

The third one is accurate. The first two are saying something totally different. I haven’t read all three of the articles yet, so maybe there is information in them beyond what is reported here and those headlines actually are accurate… but somehow, I doubt it.

what became of subtlety?

hardon_collider

these headlines all mean different things to me: Engadget
You can’t copyright AI-created art, according to US officials
1 day ago

dot.LA
Art Created By Artificial Intelligence Can’t Be Copyrighted, US Agency Rules
1 day ago

The Verge
The US Copyright Office says an AI can’t copyright its art

The third one is accurate. The first two are saying something totally different. I haven’t read all three of the articles yet, so maybe there is information in them beyond what is reported here and those headlines actually are accurate… but somehow, I doubt it.

whatever happened to subtlety

geoduck

So effectively art, or for that matter anything, created by an AI cannot be protected.
Interesting now that computers are starting to design the next generation of computers.

JBSlough

Interesting. Opens up a huge can of worms. Like AI created music or stories.

aardman

I agree. AI is a tool. When you create a work of art with a tool, such as a camera, you get to claim the copyright. If an AI machine you own creates something, then you should be able to claim the copyright or patent, as the case may be. (Unless you used an AI program that you acquired and the terms of acquisition specifically say that you relinquish all intellectual property rights.)