New York artist Chris Kashtanova may have secured the first US copyright registration for her graphic novel, which features artwork created by artificial intelligence. their Instagram feed and confirmed by an Ars Technica public records search.
The registration, starting September 15th, extends to the comic titled It’s dawn. Kashtanova created a work for Dawn using Midjourney, a commercial image synthesis service. In her message announcing the news from Tuesday, Kashtanova wrote:
I have obtained a copyright from the US Copyright Office for my Ai-generated graphic novel. I was open to how it was done and put Midjourney on the cover. It has not been modified in any other way. Yes, as you have seen here.
I tried to prove that we own the copyright when we do something with artificial intelligence. I have registered this as a work of fine art. My certificate has been mailed and today I received a number and confirmation that it was approved.
A lawyer friend of mine suggested this idea to me, and I decided to set a precedent.
Based on their announcement, Kashtanova approached the registration, saying that the work was created with the help of artificial intelligence, and not created entirely by artificial intelligence. Kashtanova wrote the story of the comic, created the layout and made the artistic choices to bring the images together.
It is likely that artists recorded works created by machines or algorithms because the history of generative art stretches back to the 1960s. But this is the first time we know of an artist registering copyright for art created using a recent round of latent diffusion-based image synthesis models that were controversial subject among artists.
Speculation over whether AI works can be copyrighted has been the subject of many articles over the past few months, and just yesterday, we wrote about Getty Images bans AI-generated artwork on its site due to unresolved copyright and ethics issues.
Despite a common misconception (explained in the Getty article), the US Copyright Office has not ruled against copyrighting AI works. Instead, this turned off the copyright is registered to the AI as the author, not the human.
It’s dawnin which the main character bears a striking resemblance to the actress Zendaya, available for free on the AI Comic Books website. This is a developing story and we will update it as more details become available.