Congressional Research Service: Generative Artificial Intelligence and Copyright Law

The question of whether or not copyright protection may be afforded to AI outputs—such as images created by DALL-E or texts created by ChatGPT—is likely to hinge partly on the concept of "authorship." The Copyright Act generally affords copyright protection to "original works of authorship." Although the Copyright Act does not define who (or what) may be an "author," the U.S Copyright Office recognizes copyright only in works "created by a human being." Courts have likewise refused to afford copyright protection to non-human authors—for example, a monkey who took a series of photos. A recent lawsuit has challenged the human-authorship requirement in the context of works purportedly "authored" by AI. In June 2022, Stephen Thaler sued the Copyright Office for denying an application to register a visual artwork that he claims was authored by an AI program called the Creativity Machine.

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Author: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Charles W. Bailey, Jr.