Can an AI create art? Yes, of course it can. But can it be registered as the creator of that art? In the US, the answer to that question is still a very firm ‘Nope!’ The US Copyright Office has rejected a second request to copyright a picture called ‘A Recent Entrance to Paradise’ created by an algorithm called Creativity Machine.
It cited its rules about not registering any works “produced by a machine or mere mechanical process” that operates “without any creative input or intervention from a human author”, adding that Creativity Machine’s creator Steven Thaler did not “convince the Office to depart from a century of copyright jurisprudence” in his appeal.
This is all very relevant to the emerging art and science of AI-created music, of course, with a number of startups having built systems for this purpose.
The US Copyright Office has been considering these issues: for example in May 2020 it held a round-panel discussing AI music and its potential impact on copyright systems. For now, the registered author of a piece of AI-created music will remain either the developer of the AI, or (if different) the person pushing the button to make it create.