AI-created images lose US copyrights in test of new tech

Feb 22 (Reuters) – Images of a graphic novel created using the Midjourney artificial intelligence system should not have received copyright protection, the US Copyright Office said in a letter consulted by Reuters.

‘Zarya of the Dawn’ author Kris Kashtanova is entitled to copyright for the parts of the book that Kashtanova wrote and arranged, but not for the images produced by Midjourney, the office said in its letter. dated Tuesday.

The ruling is one of the first by a US court or agency on the scope of copyright protection for works created with AI, and comes amid the meteoric rise of AI software. Generative AI like Midjourney, Dall-E and ChatGPT.

The Copyright Office said in its letter that it would reissue its recording for “Zarya of the Dawn” to omit images that “are not the product of human authorship” and therefore cannot be copyrighted. copyright.

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The Copyright Office has not commented on the decision.

Kashtanova called it “good news” on Wednesday that the office cleared copyright protection for the novel’s story and the way the images were arranged, which Kashtanova said “covers many uses for members of the AI ​​artistic community”.

Kashtanova said they were considering how best to advance the argument that the images themselves were a “direct expression of my creativity and therefore copyrighted.”

Midjourney’s general counsel, Max Sills, said the ruling was “a big win for Kris, Midjourney and the artists”, and that the Copyright Office “is making it clear that if an artist exercises creative control over an image generation tool like Midjourney… the result is copyrightable.”

Midjourney is an AI-based system that generates images based on text prompts entered by users. Kashtanova wrote the text for “Zarya of the Dawn” and Midjourney created the book images based on prompts.

The Copyright Office told Kashtanova in October that it would reconsider copyrighting the book because the application did not disclose Midjourney’s role.

The office said Tuesday it would grant copyright protection to the text of the book and the way Kashtanova selected and organized its elements. But he said Kashtanova was not “the main mind” behind the images themselves.

“The fact that the specific output of Midjourney cannot be predicted by users makes Midjourney different for copyright purposes from other tools used by artists,” the letter states.

Reporting by Blake Brittain in Washington Editing by David Bario and Sandra Maler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Contact him at

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