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U.S. Copyright Office Issues Guidelines for Registering Works with Content Generated by AI

Client Updates / Mar 29, 2023

Written by Haim Ravia and Dotan Hammer

The US Copyright Office has launched a new initiative to examine federal copyright law and policy questions arising from the use of artificial intelligence (AI). The discussion will address, among other issues, the protection of copyright for works created by AI tools and the use of protected works for machine learning. The Copyright Office indicated that it received numerous applications to register works created by various AI tools. This has led members of Congress and the public to request that the Copyright Office hold a public debate on the issue. Consequently, the Copyright Office will hold round-table meetings with artists, technology companies, AI developers, researchers, and lawyers to gain a broad understanding of their positions on these issues.

Additionally, the Copyright Office has published new registration guidelines effective as of March 16, 2023. The guidelines emphasize that copyright only protects works that are human creations. They clarify that parties seeking to register works with the Copyright Office must indicate whether the work includes content created by AI. The guidelines explain how to provide information about AI-related works in registration applications, how to update existing applications, and how to correct an existing registration.

If the Copyright Office concludes that the creator of the work is not a human being, it will refuse to register the work. The Copyright Office recently determined that comic characters created using the AI-based image generator Midjourney should not have been registered in the copyright registry. As per the Copyright Office, generative AI technologies currently available do not offer users sufficient creative control to substantiate the “human creation” element required for copyright registration. The Copyright Office explained that labor, in the sense of spending time and effort in using Labor, in itself cannot be a basis for copyright protection.

Click here to read the new AI initiative of the U.S. Copyright Office.

Click here to read the U.S. Copyright Office’s Copyright Registration Guidance: Works Containing Material Generated by Artificial Intelligence

Click here to read the copyright office’s decision regarding Zarya of the Dawn, the comic characters created using the image generator.