Since the generation of images with artificial intelligence made its way to the general public, there have been numerous debates about the ethics of these tools and the recognition of artists. Now, the U.S. Copyright Office has just partially withdrawn Kristina Kashtanova’s copyright on Zarya of the Dawn, a comic created with Midjourney.
In a precedent-setting decision, the federal agency issued a certificate last year granting 100% authorship of Zarya of the Dawn to Kristina Kashtanova, the New York-based artist behind the comic. However, the office has drafted a letter to the artist’s attorney explaining that there will be several important changes.
This revision was the result of a lack of information in the application issued by Kashtanova. One of the key aspects was the failure to correctly break down the role that Midjourney had in the comic. According to the documentation issued, Kashtanova would have only used the AI to generate the cover, but the reality turned out to be very different.
Thanks to the virality of the comic in social networks, it was corroborated that the artist used artificial intelligence to create all the images that make up Zarya of the Dawn. Even so, the agency will keep the authorship of the written text, the plot and other aspects, since that would come entirely from Kashtanova.
For the U.S. Copyright Office, images generated by artificial intelligence could not be covered by intellectual property laws since there is no trace of “human authorship”. In addition, the Office considers that the fact that “users cannot predict the specific output of Midjourney makes it different” to recognize the “creator”.
Midjourney, one of many AIs that “generate images from scratch”
Midjourney is an independent laboratory dedicated to artificial intelligence research and is also the name of its generative image model. Its operation is very similar to that of other famous programs such as DALL-E 2 (from OpenAI) or Stable Diffusion (from Stability AI).
To use it, all you have to do is access its official Discord channel, where you can create images that resemble artistic works. Managed by David Holz, co-founder of Leap Motion, Midjourney is based on a freemium model that offers different payment plans to access better features.