The US Copyright Office will consider an AI-generated work copyrightable if a human can prove they themselves put a meaningful amount of creative effort into the final content, according to a policy published on Thursday.
AI software capable of automatically generating images or text from an input prompt or instruction has made it easier for people to churn out content. Correspondingly, the USCO has received an increasing number of applications to register copyright protections for material, especially artwork, created using such tools.
US law states that intellectual property can be copyrighted only if it was the product of human creativity, and the USCO only acknowledges work authored by humans at present. Machines and generative AI algorithms, therefore, cannot be authors, and their outputs are not copyrightable.
Digital art, poems, and books generated using tools like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, ChatGPT, or even the newly released GPT-4 will not be protected by copyright if they were created by humans using only a text description or prompt, USCO director Shira Perlmutter warned.