Who Owns the Copyright to AI-Generated Works?

Copyright ownership of AI-generated works depends on whether the work was purely generated by an AI.

Works Solely Generated by AI

If a work is solely generated by an AI and lacks human authorship, there is no copyright protection and therefore no one can own the copyright to the generated work because it is in the public domain. Applying these principles, the U.S. Copyright Office will refuse to register any work that is solely generated by AI. A federal district court, in upholding the Office’s decision to refuse registration for such a work, affirmed these principles. In other words, a work generated by the AI is in the public domain.

Works with a Mix of Both AI-Generated Elements and Human Authored Elements

If a work contains both AI-generated elements and elements of human authorship protectable by copyright law—such as human-authored text or a human’s minimally creative arrangement, selection, and coordination of various parts of the work—the elements of the work that are protected by copyright would be owned by the human author. AI and copyright issues will continue to develop, and you can stay up-to-date by signing up for our AI Copyright Alert.