Judge rules AI-generated art is not copyrightable

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Fonts being software, not “art,” I don’t know how relevant this would be, but it‘s certainly thought-provoking.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/ai-works-not-copyrightable-studios-1235570316/

By the way, I‘m already sick of journalists calling a thousand different kinds of software “AI,” as I’m sure you are too.

Comments

  • Thomas Phinney
    Thomas Phinney Posts: 2,769
    edited August 2023
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    The court is upholding the US Copyright Office’s position, which has been there for a year or so I think? It is notable that it withstood the court challenge… but not shocking.
  • jeremy tribby
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    the case mentioned in the article as initial precedent for human authorship, Burrow-Giles Lithographic Company v. Sarony, dates back to the 19th century. the plaintiff is wasting the court’s time
  • John Savard
    John Savard Posts: 1,092
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    the case mentioned in the article as initial precedent for human authorship, Burrow-Giles Lithographic Company v. Sarony, dates back to the 19th century. the plaintiff is wasting the court’s time

    Actually, that case didn't really settle the mater. I looked it up; it concerned a photograph of Oscar Wilde, and the decision affirmed, because the photographer did arrange the lighting and pose the subject, that human authorship was present, and thus the image was copyrightable.
    So if that case were the only precedent, the argument that an AI-generated image is copyrightable because the author framed a query wouldn't necessarily be eliminated, although it is true that the wording of the decision in Burrow-Giles Lithographic Company v. Sarony did suggest that a more appreciable amount of author input is required as the standard.
    What would be a much more definitive precedent, of course, is one that tested the issue in the same direction - where a copyright claim was denied because there was not an adequate degree of human authorship.
  • jeremy tribby
    jeremy tribby Posts: 223
    edited August 2023
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    that is why I called it "initial" precedent. it has been built upon and reaffirmed that human authorship is necessary for copyright a number of times since then. you may recall the more recent case of PETA claiming a monkey had rights to a selfie it took
  • JoyceKetterer
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    I wonder how this would effect a design patent?  Though I don't think anyone but Adobe bothers to get them for fonts.

  • Thomas Phinney
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    No effect. This case is somebody suing the US Copyright Office about them rejecting a copyright application. The Copyright Office does not handle patents. Completely distinct thing.
  • JoyceKetterer
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    No direct effect, no, of course.  But I mean the underlaying principal that human authorship is crucial.  
  • Thomas Phinney
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    I haven’t heard that being expressed as an underlying principle for design patents (or trademarks for that matter).

    I can see how one COULD take it as a general principle, and I don’t know that it would be any harder to apply to design patents than to copyright. It may well emerge as such a broader thing, which becomes instantiated in more areas.

  • JoyceKetterer
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    Yes, that's what I was speculating about.  I don't think it would relate trademarks.  But I can see why it might patents.