When is an image copyrighted?

When is an image copyrighted?

19. März 2023 0 Von Horst Buchwald

When is an image copyrighted?

Washington, 3/19/2023

According to new guidance from the U.S. Copyright Office, certain artistic works created with the help of AI systems could potentially be protected by copyright.

The agency says the decision to copyright an image „depends on the circumstances, particularly how the AI tool works and how it was used to create the final work.“

According to the office, works that are generated solely from a text input in an AI system are not eligible for human authorship and thus for copyright protection.

Based on its understanding, the agency said it believes creators ultimately don’t exercise creative control over how AI systems interpret text prompts and generate art. Rather, the office likened requests to „rather instructions to a commissioned artist.“

However, there may be some cases where an artist could modify an AI-generated work „so that the modifications meet the standard for copyright protection,“ it said.


The updated guidance was released after the U.S. Copyright Office has withdrawn copyright registration for AI-created images used in a comic book.

While artist Kris Kashtanova wrote the story’s text, they used the Midjourney text-to-image engine to create the book’s artwork, which is non-protectable.