Copyright Office: No Copyright Protection for Certain AI-Generated Works
From a letter sent Tuesday:
The United States Copyright Office has reviewed your letter dated November 21, 2022, responding to our letter to your client, Kristina Kashtanova, seeking additional information concerning the authorship of her work titled Zarya of the Dawn (the “Work”). [Zarya itself means “dawn” in Russian, which seems likely to be one of Ms. Kashtanova’s primary languages. -EV] Ms. Kashtanova had previously applied for and obtained a copyright registration for the Work, Registration # VAu001480196. We appreciate the information provided in your letter, including your description of the operation of the Midjourney’s artificial intelligence (“AI”) technology and how it was used by your client to create the Work.
The Office has completed its review of the Work’s original registration application and deposit copy, as well as the relevant correspondence in the administrative record.1 We conclude that Ms. Kashtanova is the author of the Work’s text as well as the selection, coordination, and arrangement of the Work’s written and visual elements. That authorship is protected by copyright. However, as discussed below, the images in the Work that were generated by the Midjourney technology are not the product of human authorship. Because the current registration for the Work does not disclaim its Midjourney-generated content, we intend to cancel the original certificate issued to Ms. Kashtanova and issue a new one covering only the expressive material that she created….
Turning to the individual images in the Work, the Office must consider the impact of Ms. Kashtanova’s use of Midjourney’s artificial intelligence technology in its copyrightability analysis…. Midjourney offers an artificial intelligence technology capable of generating images in response to text provided by a user. Midjourney operates on top of an unaffiliated third-party communication service called Discord, which is made up of individual servers operated by its users…. Users operate Midjourney through “prom
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