A federal judge upheld a finding from the U.S. Copyright Office that a piece of art created by AI is not open to protection, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The ruling was delivered in an order turning down Stephen Thaler’s bid challenging the government’s position refusing to register works made by AI. Copyright law has “never stretched so far” to “protect works generated by new forms of technology operating absent any guiding human hand,” U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell stated.
According to THR: “The push for protection of works created by AI has been spearheaded by Thaler, chief executive of neural network firm Imagination Engines. In 2018, he listed an AI system, the Creativity Machine, as the sole creator of an artwork called A Recent Entrance to Paradise, which was described as “autonomously created by a computer algorithm running on a machine.”
The Copyright Office denied the application on the grounds that “the nexus between the human mind and creative expression” is a crucial element of protection.
THR adds that Thaler, who listed himself as the owner of the copyright under the work-for-hire doctrine, “sued in a lawsuit contesting the denial and the office’s human authorship requirement. He argued that AI should be acknowledged “as an author where it otherwise meets authorship criteria,” with any ownership vesting in the machine’s owner. His complaint argued that the office’s refusal was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with the law” in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, which provides for judicial review of agency actions. The question presented in the suit was whether a work generated solely by a computer falls under the protection of copyright law.”
“In the absence of any human involvement in the creation of the work, the clear and straightforward answer is the one given by the Register: No,” Howell wrote.