Ai – Is it Art?
That’s an excellent question. I guess I can ask, is Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer art? Is Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Story art? Is Frank Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera art?
If you answered, “yes”, to my questions about literature, then you must agree that Ai is art.
Ai is based off words, and sometimes it is based of words that modify an existing image. One can easily argue that if the artist uses their own image to create an Ai result, then it is art and belongs to the artist. The problem arises when the words contain the name of an artist.
It is unfortunate that the U.S. Copyright office has issued a policy statement that Ai generated art automatically falls in the public domain and therefore cannot be copyrighted. Their argument is that it draws upon search engine results via the internet and incorporates images that exist on the Internet.
Wow! Does that mean because I use Grumbacher oil paints that I cannot copyright my paintings because I use existing colors contained in Grumbacher oil paints?
For me, the question the USPTO should ask, are the results unique enough to be considered a derivative work?
I’ve generated some Ai work that is so close to the original image that it WOULD be a copyright violation, however, I have also generated Ai work that doesn’t even come close to the original image. In fact, it is so different that one can say it isn’t even a derivative work, but an original.
Let me give an example. Suppose my prompt words say, “In the style of Thomas Kinkade”, but my resultant image is that of a woman running on the beach. And, let’s say it also included, “In the style of Picasso.” And, what if the resultant Ai didn’t resemble anything that Picasso or Thomas Kinkade ever painted.
Take this image as an example. The seed was a photograph I shot, and the result does not resemble my photograph, but it doesn’t resemble ANYTHING painted by the two artists I referenced in the prompt words. One might argue that it looks like something Peter Steigerwald would paint.
It’s not against copyright rules to copy a style of a painting or drawing. If so, MANY artists would be in violation of copyright laws.
So I ask, is Ai art?