Stephen Thaler, founder and board chairman of Imagination Engines, has sued the US Copyright Office, including its director Shira Perlmutter for rejecting Thaler’s plea to register his artificial intelligence software as the author of an image created by it.
According to Thaler’s request, his AI software, Creativity Machine, should be legally recognized as the author of ‘A Recent Entrance to Paradise’, an image generated by the software, thus granting it copyright. Moreover, Thaler demands that he should be registered as the owner of the copyrighted image.
After his application to register his AI model as the author and him as the owner of the same was rejected twice in a row, Thaler decided to sue the Copyright Office. In a court document, he claimed that the defendants refused to register claims to the copyrighted work, which is contrary to law.
In this case, Ryan Abbott, Thaler’s lawyer, believes that the officials should set aside the refusal to register the copyright claim and reinstate the application.
However, in the latest rejection of the request by the Copyright Office, the officials reiterated that the current copyright laws do not apply to content created by artificial intelligence or any other non-human entities of that sort.
Further, the officials added that today’s copyright laws protect only the fruits of intellectual labor rooted in the creative powers of the human mind. Since the work must be created by a human being to be copyrighted, the US Copyright Office refused to register works produced by mere mechanical processes without any creative inputs from a human being.
Thaler, however, insists that the claims he made are logical and must be admitted by the US Copyright Office, even if it comes at the cost of suing them.
In the year 2020, the India Copyright Office granted co-authorship to artificial intelligence and a human author, Ankit Sahni for the now copyright-protected work of painting, Suryast. This co-authorship has set a precedent and paved the way for full AI authorship recognition.