AI Art and Copyright some more

I am losing track of the number of AI-based image-creation tools I have access to now. It’s not that huge a number, but it’s complicated! :) There’s at least:

  • good old ArtBreeder, which I haven’t used in ages, and which seems to have a potentially interesting new mode where you sketch a thing with a few shapes, and then type text telling the AI what to make it into,
  • MidJourney with the old V3 engine and the newer and lyrically named ‘test’ and ‘testp’ engines and mixmashes of those,
  • NightCafe, which was my main goto image tool quite some weeks, with the old Artistic and Coherent engines, but now also the new Stable Diffusion (SD) based “Stable” engine, and various workflows among those,
  • NovelAI which now does images as well as text; the images are also in a Discord bot, and it’s really fast; it uses some heuristic smut-blurrer (maybe just the standard SD one?) but the devs sort of promise they will eventually move it off of discord and then have few or no restrictions (similarly to their text generator),
  • and now I discover that I have access to Dall-E also, from OpenAI, which I have just barely begun to use (detailed surrealism).

The “you can’t copyright art made with AIs” meme seems to have withered (which is good since it’s not true, although nothing is certain), but my experiment to gather additional evidence against it has finally borne fruit (months before I expected it to, really): I have now registered my copyright in this masterpiece of mine:

A blonde porcelain doll and a worn teddy bear sit on a trunk, in a musty attic in light from the window

with the real actual US Copyright Office, who have sent me a real actual certificate testifying to it. The registration can also be found on the web (you have to go to that page and then search on Registration Number for “VA0002317843”; I have yet to find a permalink that persists, bizarrely).

I did it through LegalZoom rather than myself; it cost more (I think), but I was more confident that I was Doing It Right during the process. There were no questions about whether AI was involved, or about what software I used to create it, or anything like that. I did have to say that I’m the creator, of course, but since I am :) I don’t see a problem there.

Registering the copyright doesn’t mean it’s 100% correct, it just creates a legal presumption. Someone could still challenge it, arguing that I wasn’t really the creator at all. I think that would be very unlikely to succeed.

And in any case, here is a nice concrete counterexample to any remaining “you can’t copyright art produced with an AI” claims that might be floating around.

The image is, by the way, provided under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, so feel free to do anything allowed by that license. :) Knock yourself out! Figuratively!

Extremely generous friend Karima also continues updating the virtual world region “AI Dreams in Art” with things she likes from my Twitter feed, etc, so drop by! It is getting blushingly positive reviews on the Social Medias; apparently there are significant numbers of people who have heard a lot about this AI Art stuff, but never really seen any. They seem to like mine! :)

Updates: there have been significant developments, legal and otherwise, in this area since this was initially posted; see the copyright tag on the weblog here for more.

11 Responses to “AI Art and Copyright some more”

  1. If the U.S. Copyright Office didn’t know that AI was used in the creation of the image, please consider correcting this omission using what’s known as a supplementary registration, and then tell us the outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s an interesting thought, but as the supplemental registration can be used only to correct or amplify information on the original registration, and the basic registration form doesn’t ask anything about the means by which the work was created (AI or otherwise), it doesn’t appear to be feasible in practice.


      • You may wish to get in contact with Roope Rainisto on Twitter; his Twitter account is rainisto. On September 29, 2022, he tweeted purported questions from the Office in regard to his pending registration for an AI-involved work; search for “As I thought, the copyright filing isn’t an automated process” to find the tweet. I believe he mentioned somewhere else on Twitter that he used a certain field on the registration application – maybe the “other” or similar field? – to tell the Office that he used AI in the work.


      • I’ll take a look! I’ve checked several times, though, and there is as far as I can tell no place on the form to just write freeform notes, or talk about how the work was created.


      • (I didn’t see a Reply button on your latest comment, so I replied to this instead)

        I found the relevant tweet from Roope on October 4, 2022, regarding where he indicated that AI was involved:
        ‘That is true. They do give out the relevant warnings at least on [] when you submit. Not mentioning AI explicitly, but in general. The only way I was able to tell it was this “extra text field” at the end – there’s no other place to indicate it currently.’

        Roope might have used the standard Copyright Office form, whereas perhaps you used a LegalZoom form?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. For some reason WordPress (at least this template?) doesn’t handle strings of replies very well! Not sure what he means by “the relevant warnings”; maybe just that you actually have to be the creator? I used the LegalZoom form online, and I’ve looked at the online versions of the hardcopy Copyright Office forms; maybe the online Copyright Office web-forms have some more fields? Could be.


    • My previous reply didn’t get published, but I wanted to let you know that the USCO intends to revoke the copyright registration for Kris Kashtanova’s AI-assisted (Midjourney) graphic novel. Kashtanova intends to appeal. See Twitter account icreatelife for details.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, thanks! This one was in Spam for some reason (first false-positive I’ve been on WordPress’s spam algorithm), but I didn’t see any others here. You’re quite right about all that, though; very odd! I’ve now done a post about that and some related stuff (can I even put a link in a comment? I’m not sure): . I’ve decided that although I’m sure what the copyright office OUGHT to think and do here, I’m not going to waste too much energy worrying about whether they do that they ought to or not, especially in the short term. :)




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