Mathew Allen’s AI Art Is Not Eligible To Copyright–A Fight Between Artist And Law

Mathew Allen’s AI Art Is Not Eligible To Copyright–A Fight Between Artist And Law

On 5 September, the US Copyright Office ruled that Matthew Allen’s generated award-winning AI art “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” is not eligible for copyright. Allen is planning to file a lawsuit against the US copyright office.

According to the US copyright agency, the art was generated by machines, not humans. The copyright laws are only eligible for human-generated original artworks because they are unique and involve hard work. Rebecca Tushnet, a Harvard Law School professor and leading copyright scholar, said, “It’s in line with previous decisions that require human authors.” 

Mathew Allen created “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” using Midjourney, an artificial intelligence program that uses text prompts to generate images. Allen said, “I’m going to fight this like hell,” he says.

The artist tried his best and wrote an explanation to the US copyright office. He mentioned the details of his efforts in AI-generated art. Mathew Allen explained how he dabbled with the raw image using manual and AI software. He used Adobe Photoshop to fix imperfections and Gigapixel AI to increase the size and resolution. Allen used at least 624 text prompts to create the mind-blowing art.

The copyright agency agreed that a few parts of the paintings are original. However, the whole painting can not be copyrighted. In another case, AI researcher Stephen Thalus is trying to prove that AI arts also deserve protection by copyright laws. However, the court dismissed the case. Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court for the District of Columbia wrote, 

“Plaintiff can point to no case in which a court has recognized copyright in a work originating with a nonhuman.” 

Many artist take help from AI to generate their artwork. But Allen’s rejected bid has worried artists worldwide. The real question is, how many are required if 624 tweaks were insufficient to claim copyright protection? Or should artists stop using AI to generate art? Only time will tell.

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