This blog has covered artificial intelligence and copyright protection in the United States on a number of occasions, including It’s Alive? and AI Artwork. To date, the Copyright Office has consistently rejected registration of works created using AI technology. The basis is that the Copyright Office and copyright case law have interpreted the term “authorship” from the Copyright Act to exclude non-humans. The current version of the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices indicates that “to qualify as a work of ‘authorship’ a work must be created by a human being.” The Copyright Office recently signaled a willingness to move away from a rigid approach to AI-created works when it approved registration of a graphic novel named Zarya of the Dawn consisting of human-authored text and AI-generated imagery. The scope of registration, however, was limited only to the human-authored text in the graphic novel.
Because AI-generated works will continue to be created and the Copyright Office has seen an influx of applications to register such works, the Copyright Office determined that public guidance is necessary specifically for registration of works created utilizing AI-technology or containing AI-generated content. Accordingly, on March 16, 2023, the Copyright Office released a statement entitled “Copyright Registration Guidance: Works Containing Material Generated by Artificial Intelligence.” Read more