K&L Gates LLP - Susan Kayser and Kristin Wells , Lexology; Even in the digital age, Only human-made works are copyrightable in the U.S.
"The U.S. Copyright Office Review Board refused copyright protection of a two-dimensional artwork created by artificial intelligence, stating that “[c]urrently, ‘the Office will refuse to register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work,’” see recent letter. The Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices does not explicitly address AI, but precedent, policy, and practice makes human authorship currently a prerequisite.
A “Creativity Machine,” authored the work titled “A Recent Entrance into Paradise.” The applicant, Steven Thaler, an advocate for AI IP rights, named himself as the copyright claimant. Thaler’s application included a unique transfer statement: “ownership of the machine,” and further explained that the work “was autonomously created by a computer algorithm running on a machine.” Thaler sought to register the work as a work-for-hire because he owns the Creativity Machine.
AI’s “kill switch” at the U.S. Copyright Office? AI isn’t human. The Review Board relied on the Office’s compendium of practices and Supreme Court precedent dating back to 1879—long before computers were a concept—to hold that the U.S. Copyright Office will not register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work.
The Review Board also denied Thaler’s argument that the work made for hire doctrine allows non-human persons like companies to be authors of copyrighted material. The Board explained that works made for hire must be prepared by “an employee” or by “parties” who “expressly agree in a written instrument” that the work is for hire.
Because Thaler did not claim any human involvement in the work, the Board did not address under which circumstances human involvement in machine-created works might meet the statutory requirements for copyright protection. This is an issue that may soon arise."