The US Copyright Office and its director Shira Perlmutter have been sued for rejecting one man’s request to register an AI model as the author of an image generated by the software.
You guessed correct: Stephen Thaler is back. He said the digital artwork, depicting railway tracks and a tunnel in a wall surrounded by multi-colored, pixelated foliage, was produced by machine-learning software he developed. The author of the image, titled A Recent Entrance to Paradise, should be registered to his system, Creativity Machine, and he should be recognized as the owner of the copyrighted work, he argued.
(Owner and author are two separate things, at least in US law: someone who creates material is the author, and they can let someone else own it.)
Thaler’s applications to register and copyright the image behalf of Creativity Machine, however, have been turned down by the Copyright Office twice. Now, he has sued the government agency and Perlmutter. “Defendants’ refusal to register the copyright claim in the work is contrary to law,” Thaler claimed in court documents [PDF] filed this month in a federal district court in Washington DC.
“The agency actions here were arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with the law, unsupported by substantial evidence, and in excess of Defendants’ statutory authority,” the lawsuit claimed.
Thaler’s lawyer, Ryan Abbott, believes the Copyright Office should overturn its previous decision and process Thaler’s original application. “The refusal to register the copyright claim in the work should be set aside and the application reinstated,” he argued.