US government regulations prohibit copyrighting of AI-generated images derived from text
Images generated by text prompts to current generative AI models, such as Midjourney or Stable Diffusion, are not copyrighted in the United States. According to the US Copyright Office (USCO), such prompts are analogous to a buyer giving directions to a commissioned artist. “They identify what the prompter wishes to depict, but the machine determines how those instructions are implemented in its output,” the USCO wrote in a new guidance document published in the Federal Register.
“When an AI technology receives only a human prompt and produces complex written, visual, or musical works in response, the ‘traditional elements of authorship’ are determined and executed by the technology — not the human user,” according to the office.