AI-Generated Artwork is Copyrighted for the First Time

AI Comic Book
Kris Kashtanova

A graphic artist has received the first known U.S. copyright registration for artworks created by an AI-image generator.

Kris Kashtanova, a designer and artificial intelligence (AI) enthusiast, posted an email on Instagram confirming their copyright registration for a graphic novel.

“I got Copyright from the Copyright Office of the USA on my AI-generated graphic novel. I was open how it was made and put Midjourney on the cover page. It wasn’t altered in any other way,” Kashtova writes.

“I tried to make a case that we do own copyright when we make something using AI. I registered it as visual arts work. My certificate is in the mail and I got the number and a confirmation today that it was approved. My friend lawyer gave me this idea and I decided to make a precedent.”

The application related to a comic book called Zarya of the Dawn, which while assisted by text-to-image generators was not wholly made by programs such as DALL-E and Midjourney.

As noted by Ars Technica, Kashtanova approached the copyright office by saying that they used AI-image generators as a tool to assist the work and it wasn’t entirely made by AI. Kashtanova wrote the comic book story, as well as designing the layout, and made artistic choices.

Precedent Setting

Earlier this year, PetaPixel reported that the U.S. Copyright Office had denied a request for an AI-generated artwork to be registered.

That application was made by Steven Thaler who wanted to register an AI machine as the author. While this request was rejected, it does not necessarily mean that AI artworks cannot be registered with a human as the appointed author.

While there has been much controversy surrounding the recent image synthesizers, artists and photographers are beginning to see them as useful tools.

However, selling them on traditional photo stock websites may be an issue, as last week saw a swathe of websites banning AI-generated art, most noticeably Getty Images announcing it will not accept such submissions.

Image credits: Header image by Kris Kashtanova.