Kris Kashtanova

A key copyright case was lost by an AI-illustrated comic.

The United States Copyright Office initially gave Kris Kashtanova the rights to their comic book Zarya of the Dawn when they attempted to copyright it. Afterward, the agency placed the book on hold due to Kashtanova’s social media, where they stated that the photographs were created with the AI-image generator Midjourney. The Copyright Office has now reached a decision.

Kashtanova, according to the United States Copyright Office, “is the author of the Work’s text as well as the selection, coordination, and arrangement of the Work’s written and visual elements.” They are not the creators of the art. They do not recognize any of the photographs as belonging to Kashtanova or as being protected by her copyright. Kashtanova claims to be an artist since she modified and arranged the AI-generated work. Kashtanova’s statement to the Copyright Office throughout the review process can be seen here.

The Copyright Office responded to these adjustments by stating that their effort was “too tiny and unnoticeable to give the requisite inventiveness for copyright protection.” Despite this, Kashtanova claimed on Facebook and Instagram, “I received the Copyright Office’s verdict about Zarya of the Dawn today. The good news is that they confirmed my copyright, therefore Zarya of the Dawn will continue to be registered.” They went on to claim that the Copyright Office’s decision to keep the story under copyright covers “a lot of uses for the folks in the AI art community.”

NFTs are subject to comparable regulations and difficulties because they are likewise “produced” art, albeit with a different outcome. Whatever the conclusion, AI-generated photos are drawn from a library of work that was contributed to a databank without the knowledge or permission of the original artists. The scraped photographs that Midjourney exploited in response to Kashtanova’s suggestions produced a base average, combining other people’s efforts with managerial guidance. Despite this, Kashtanova will continue to pursue its copyright.