Copyright and AI – Zarya of the Dawn

by Dennis Crouch

In a prior post, I mentioned that the Copyright Office had canceled the registration for “Zarya of the Dawn,” a book purportedly created mainly by AI.  That was in error apparently generated by the Office’s new Copyright Public Records System.    The attorney for the human author – Kristina Kashtanova – contacted me to point out the error and you can see that the errors have been corrected. The copyright is currently registered.


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That said, the Copyright Office has initiated a cancellation process for the work.  In a responsive filing, her attorney Van Lindberg walks through her creation and makes the case that all aspects of the book, even computer generated images, are copyrightable.

In addition to the copyrightability of the Work as a whole, each individual picture is itself the result of a creative process that yields a copyrightable work. Kashtanova could extract any single image from the Work and submit it to the Office and correctly assert her authorship of that image.

Unlike the “autonomously generated” picture known as “A Recent Entrance to Paradise,” all the images in the Work were designed by Kashtanova. The visual structure of each image, the selection of the poses and points of view, and the juxtaposition of the various visual elements within each picture were consciously chosen. These creative selections are similar to a photographer’s selection of a subject, a time of day, and the angle and framing of an image. In this aspect, Kashtanova’s process in using the Midjourney tool to create the images in the Work was essentially similar to the artistic process of photographers – and, as detailed below, was more intensive and creative than the effort that goes into many photographs. Even a photographer’s most basic selection process has been found sufficient to make an image copyrightable. The same reasoning and result should apply to the images in Kashtanova’s Work.

Lindberg Letter to Kasunic.


8 thoughts on “Copyright and AI – Zarya of the Dawn

  1. 4

    Just crossed my desk / an update from the Copyright Office:

    Kashtanova to obtain (thin) copyright protection on items she has shown to have a hand in selection, coordination and arrangement.

    No copyright for the AI images.

  2. 3

    Also bros on AI, I figured I would report to you guys that they now (launched within last month I think) have made an AI that can say any text to voice in basically any specific human voice REALLY well (I mean near perfect). Basically all celebs are available and anyone you have enough samples from can be done.

    1. 1.1

      For once, I concur with my colleague “anon.” I hope in the future our discussions will be cordial. Congress needs to look at this issue of AI created copyrightable works and patents to determine if there is any public policy to promote the use of AI for the creation of copyrightable works and patents. On the plus side, society may benefit from unleashing the power of AI to create more intellectual property that is both unique and easier to mass produce especially with the assumption the technology will exponentially improve in the future.

      On the hand, I am uncomfortable with encouraging the use of AI and not properly rewarding the unique contributions by human authors and inventors which has a special place in the US Constitution. The real question is “do we really want more of AI produced books and inventions?” or did the founding fathers limit the monopoly of intellectual property to flesh and blood persons only. I am on the fence personally and want to see a lot more legal research done on these thorny legal issues.

      1. 1.1.1

        Potential repeat – hitting the George Carlin filter…

        Jr – cordially, I must quibble as to the difference of “USE of AI,” and creativity being provided BY AI.

        See the Simian Selfie case – these are two very different things.

        As to, “did the f0unding fa the RS limit the monopoly of intellectual property to flesh and blood persons only” – I have answered this (even though Greg does not like that answer), and that answer has to do with “the monopoly” (please refrain from using that word – it may have some use, but TOO many take it colloquially) MUST originate in a real human person as the object of the Lockean inchoate right. Once originated, that right WAS ALWAYS INTENDED to be fully alienable, and thus, the f0und1ng fa The RS absolutely did NOT to limit as you ask.

        No need for any additional legal research into the law AS IS.

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