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Can I Copyright a Work I Used AI to Create?

Generative AI is being used every day to create new works. Are these works in line with copyright law?

Well, here we have it. AI can assist in the generation of registrable copyrighted work in the US. Copyright is critical to the protection of creative work

From paintings and music to written works, AI is used to create content that could be considered by many to be truly creative or artistic. Thus, we have the question: who owns AI-generated content, and can it be protected? Currently, national copyright laws generally requires human authorship for a work to be protected. As a result, purely AI-generated content is not explicitly protected by copyright. However, the legal landscape is evolving, with jurisdictions like the European Union exploring the possibility of granting copyright protection to AI-generated works.

In any event, an absence of copyright protection for AI-generated works would necessarily leave creators and users in a gray area.

The U.S. Copyright Office has stepped in to attempt to clarify this gray area. In keeping with the U.S. Copyright doctrine that copyrights can only protect works of human authorship, the Copyright Office has clarified that generative AI (such as ChatGPT) is another tool (like an image editor or a camera) that can assist a human in authorship of a creative work. If a work lacks human authorship (e.g., though this is vague given the general need for a prompt), a work is still not entitled to copyright protection. Ultimately, the extent of the human author’s creative control over the expression of the work is what makes or breaks the copyrighted nature of a work.

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