US Copyright Office for denying image authorship to AI model • The Register

The US Copyright Office and its director Shira Perlmutter have been sued for denying a man’s request to register an AI model as the author of an image generated by the software.

You guessed right: Stephen Thaler is back. He said the digital artwork, representing train tracks and a tunnel in a wall surrounded by multicolored pixelated foliage, was produced by machine learning software he developed. The author of the image, titled A Recent Entry into Paradise, should be registered on his system, Creativity Machine, and he should be acknowledged as the owner of the copyrighted work, he said. supported.

(Owner and author are two separate thingsat least in US law: someone who creates the material is the author, and they can let someone else own it.)

Thaler’s requests to register and protect the image on Creativity Machine’s behalf have, however, been denied by the Copyright Office twice. Now he’s sued the government agency and Perlmutter. “Defendants’ refusal to register the copyright claim to the work is against the law,” Thaler said in court documents. [PDF] filed this month in federal district court in Washington DC.

“The agency’s actions here were arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and inconsistent with law, unsupported by substantial evidence, and beyond the defendants’ statutory authority,” the lawsuit asserted.

Thaler’s attorney, Ryan Abbott, believes the Copyright Office should reverse its previous decision and deal with Thaler’s original request. “The refusal to register the claim of copyright in the work must be reversed and the claim reinstated,” he pleaded.

In the latest Copyright Office denial of Thaler’s request, submitted in February, officials made it clear that current copyright laws do not support content created by non-human entities.

“Copyright law only protects ‘the fruits of intellectual labor’ which ‘rely on the creative powers of [human] mind”… The office will not register works “produced by a machine or simple mechanical process” that operates “without any creative input or intervention from a human author” because, under the law, “A work must be created by a human being,” the government body said.

“Thaler must either provide evidence that the work is the product of a human author or convince the office to deviate from a century of copyright case law. He did neither one or the other.”

Thaler, however, insists that the AI-generated image must be saved on his machine and copyright ownership must be in his name because he owns the code. “The claim is that the owner of the machine owns the copyright, similar to how you own a physical painting made by a 3D printer,” Abbott said. The register. “It encourages people to build machines that do useful things.”

The Copyright Office referenced two previous copyright cases, one being the infamous macaque Naruto, who allegedly took a smiling selfie using a man’s camera and was ultimately denied copyrights for being an ape.

In his lawsuit, Thaler insisted that he should own the copyright to his image since he owns his creator. “You can’t sue an AI, but you can sue the person who made the AI ​​or uses the AI ​​to do something counterfeit,” Abbott told us. “It depends on the specific facts of the case.”

Thaler attempted to argue that the image was generated by his software as a “made for hire work” for a human. The Copyright Office, however, said that did not apply in this case since Creativity Machine was not a human being and could not enter into an employment contract.

Abbott, however, said the denial did not concern Thaler’s right to a copyright in the work.

The US Copyright Office declined to comment.

This case comes at a time when more and more people are using artificial intelligence, such as Mid Road and SLAB 2, to generate vivid illustrations that seem man-made from written prompts. ®

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