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Generative AI: Subject Guide: Copyright & Citation

Copyright & Artificial Intelligence

There are two considerations when thinking about copyright and artificial intelligence.

  • Training data used to train AI models
  • Copyrightability of output created by AI models

As with many aspects of the rapidly advancing field of AI, the impact of copyright law on how AI models are created and how their output can be used is still unsettled. 

Generative AI tools raise several broad questions related to copyright and creator's rights.  Can creative work produced by AI be copyrighted? If so, who owns the copyright?  Generative AI tools are trained on large data sets of published creative work pulled from the Internet or databases.  Is this a "fair use" under copyright law?  Should copyright holders receive compensation?  Can creators evoke moral rights to control whether and how their work is included in such databases? As with many aspects of the rapidly changing field of AI, the impact of copyright law on how AI models are created and how their output can be used is still undecided.

Copyright protection is not granted to works created by Artificial Intelligence.  The U.S. Copyright Office has issued guidance that explains the requirement for human authorship in order for a work to be granted copyright protection.  Guidance also include information to creators working in tandem with AI tools on how to effectively and correctly registered their works.  However, it depends on the circumstances, particularly how the AI tool operates and how it was used to create the final work.  Work generated by AI may contain copyrighted information.