In a groundbreaking move, artist Jason M. Allen has filed a Request for Reconsideration with the U.S. Copyright Office, challenging the Office’s initial refusal to grant copyright protection for his AI-assisted artwork, Théâtre D’opéra Spatial. Allen’s legal team argues that the use of AI in the creation of art is a legitimate form of artistic expression, and that such works should be afforded the same copyright protections as traditional forms of art.
The Copyright Office’s initial refusal to register the artwork appears to be based on a misunderstanding of the artist’s creative process, as well as the standards outlined in the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices. The Copyright Office stated, “We have decided that we cannot register this copyright claim because the deposit does not contain any human authorship; instead, the deposit contains only material that your client solicited from an artificial intelligence art-generator.” Allen’s legal team has pointed out that the refusal was influenced by factors that should not have been considered during the examination, such as artistic merit, effort, and skill.
“We believe this refusal of registration is inappropriate, and we have submitted a request for reconsideration,” notes Tamara Pester Schklar, the intellectual property attorney representing Mr. Allen. “We believe that AI should be treated like any other tool available to artists. The Copyright Office has previously said that only humans can be creators of original works. By suggesting that AI is the primary creator of Mr. Allen’s work, the Copyright Office is contradicting itself, as well as straying from well-established precedent which allows humans who have used novel tools to create a work, to own the copyright in that original work.”
In the Request for Reconsideration, Allen’s legal team highlights the importance of public policy in granting copyright protection to AI-assisted art. They emphasize that more artists will be able to express their ideas through the use of AI tools, which levels the playing field for those who might not have innate traditional artistic abilities. Additionally, they argue that the market, not the Copyright Office, should determine the value of a work created using AI tools versus traditional methods.
Granting copyright protection to AI-assisted artwork encourages the growth of the AI art community, fosters innovation, and ensures fair compensation for creators. Registering AI assisted artwork with the Copyright Office clarifies legal rights and responsibilities, helping to determine ownership and the division of potential profits.
As the debate surrounding the copyrightability of AI-assisted art continues, Jason M. Allen’s Request for Reconsideration serves as a crucial step towards redefining the way we view artistic expression and the role of technology in the creative process.
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Jason M. Allen