On March 10, 2023, U.S. Copyright Office issued a policy statement setting out the Office’s approach to registration of works containing material generated by AI technology.
The Copyright Office maintains that copyright protection only extends to works created by human authors, as established in the Constitution and the Copyright Act. In assessing works containing AI-generated content, the Office determines whether the AI contribution is a "mechanical reproduction" or a result of an author's original mental conception. This is a case-by-case inquiry.
If AI technology is responsible for the expressive elements of a work, the generated material is not copyright protected and must be disclaimed in the registration application. However, if a work containing AI-generated content also includes sufficient human authorship, copyright protection may apply. To claim copyright, applicants must use the Standard Application, identify human author(s), and describe the human contribution in the "Author Created" field.
AI-generated content must be explicitly excluded from the application, with a description provided in the "Limitation of the Claim" section under the "Material Excluded" heading. Applicants can also provide additional information in the "Note to CO" field.
If unsure about the application process, applicants can provide a general statement indicating the presence of AI-generated material. The Office will then review the claim and determine how to proceed. In some cases, the use of AI tools will not raise questions about human authorship, and no disclaimer is required.
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