The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia recently found that human prompting of AI-generated works does not satisfy the “authorship” requirement for copyright protection. Under the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright protection attaches “immediately” upon the creation of “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression,” provided those works meet certain requirements. Human authorship is one such requirement. In order to sure up protection, a copyright claimant can register their work with the Register of Copyrights. Through this process, the Register will confirm that the work is indeed eligible for copyright protection and ultimately — assuming the work is copyrightable — issue a certificate of registration. However, where the Register denies an application for registration for lack of copyrightable subject matter, the work at issue was never subject to copyright protection at all.
Republished with permission. The full article "What Does It Mean to be Human: Copyright Office Confirms That AI-Generated Works Are Not Works of Human Authorship" was published in AMEC News Magazine, which is accessible via membership e-newsletter only, on September 22, 2023.