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20 Mar, 2023
1 min time to read

AI Copyright Law 101, welcome you.

The U.S. Copyright Office has recently issued new guidelines on the ownership of AI-generated work, specifically in the context of the increasing use of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence language model. The new guidance states that ownership of such work will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

According to the Copyright Office, the determination of whether an AI-generated work can be copyrighted will depend on whether the AI's contributions are a result of "mechanical reproduction" or an author's "own original mental conception." In other words, if the AI has merely replicated pre-existing material without any new creative input from the user, it will not be considered for copyright protection. However, if the AI has generated new material that reflects the user's creative input, then it may be eligible for copyright protection.

Moreover, the agency clarified that if a user selects or arranges AI-generated material in a sufficiently creative manner that it becomes an original work, such a work could be copyrighted. However, if the AI has produced complex works in response, then it would not be considered copyrighted material as the "traditional elements of authorship" are determined and executed by the technology.

Shira Perlmutter, the director of the Copyright Office, emphasized that the extent of the human's creative control over the work's expression is what ultimately matters. The office will evaluate each case based on the human's involvement in the creative process and the AI's contribution to the work.

This new guidance by the Copyright Office is a response to the sudden popularity of generative AI technology. It highlights the need for clear and comprehensive regulations on AI-generated content and copyright law. However, the topic remains a complex and rapidly evolving area of intellectual property law, and it is unclear how it will be addressed in the future.