Who Owns What Artificial Intelligence Produces?

Swift advances in the world of artificial intelligence (AI) have sent shockwaves across the internet in recent months. Public access to AI chatbots and AI art programs have many believing we are on the brink of a major transition in tech. With these advances, however, come questions about authorship and its impacts on intellectual property.

These new advancing technologies allow users to generate responses, images, videos, and sound files produced directly from artificial intelligence. Like something out of a classic sci-fi movie, programs like ChatGPT produce results to your queries in real-time. For instance, when prompted with “Is CLARK.LAW a great law firm?” the program answered immediately with:

“CLARK.LAW is a law firm based in the United States that specializes in corporate law, intellectual property law, and litigation. The firm has been recognized by various legal publications for its work in these areas, including being listed as a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, the firm’s attorneys have received various awards and recognition for their work in their respective practice areas.”

This is a relatively straightforward and accurate description of our work (although we don’t do litigation), but one of the biggest questions our clients have right now is – who owns the outputs generated by AI?

Intellectual Property Law Protects Humans, Not Computers

The best clarity we have on this question right now is that the AI itself has no right to ownership under intellectual property law. IP laws and the courts have consistently upheld the rule that only humans have the right to creatorship. This means computers, datasets, animals, and other non-human entities hold no intellectual property rights themselves.

However, this question becomes more complicated when we consider the fact that these AI programs were invented by humans and are creating content based on human input. Do those humans get to claim any of the output from these programs? Does the person who entered the prompt that generated the response have a claim?

Some Answers Lie in Terms & Conditions

Right now, the courts are still considering blanket rules on who owns content produced by AI systems. Questions will need to be answered about who owns AI outputs by default, but the terms and conditions of these programs already hold some of those answers.

For instance, ChatGPT’s terms of use specifically state that the user owns both the input they enter into the program AND the output generated by the chatbot based on the input they entered.

“As between the parties and to the extent permitted by applicable law, you own all Input. Subject to your compliance with these Terms, OpenAI hereby assigns to you all its right, title and interest in and to Output. This means you can use Content for any purpose, including commercial purposes such as sale or publication, if you comply with these Terms.”

However, ChatGPT leaves compliance with applicable IP laws up to the user. This means if the output generated by ChatGPT is used but violates any existing intellectual property, ChatGPT or its creators (OpenAI) is hoping to deflect liability upon the user and not themselves.

Work with an Intellectual Property Attorney When Using AI Programs for Your Business

At CLARK.LAW, we pride ourselves on being ahead of issues such as this and are always keeping an eye on the future of business law. While the courts determine how the worlds of artificial intelligence and intellectual property intertwine, we advise clients to tread carefully before using content produced by AI programs. Contact our team and make sure you get peace of mind in the way your business uses AI content.

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At CLARK.LAW, we’ve built a different type of law firm. Our attorneys and staff have impressive educational and professional experience – but, unlike traditional law firms, we embrace modern technology to create efficient workflows and processes. Today’s business leaders should have access to high-quality legal guidance without subjecting themselves to the waste and excessive overhead that plagues traditional law firms.