Artists Come In Various Shapes When AI Is at Play

Artists Come In Various Shapes When AI Is at Play

Cross-posted from C4C’s LinkedIn page – see the original article


Recently, the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO) launched an inquiry on AI and copyright.

Many submissions amongst the over 10,000 published on the USCO website came from artists. While some expressed concern and misgivings, it is worth noting that not all artists see AI as a problem, quite the contrary.

The quotes we have identified below from various artists’ comments actually provide a multifaceted perspective on the intersection of AI and creative expression.


These diverse insights from creators across the spectrum serve as a crucial reminder of the complexity and nuance required in discussions about copyright law, AI-generated content, and the rights of artists in the digital age.

Input: Views on Training Data

Over 80 artists warn in a joint submission against restrictive copyright interpretations that could hinder the training of generative AI and argue for the necessity of AI to access a wide range of data, including public web content, to develop and perform effectively.

On the subject of training data for AI, Mark Duncan, a video game designer, and Trent Sterling, an independent game developer, both emphasize the importance of access to a broad spectrum of creative works. This access is essential for both human and AI-driven creative processes, suggesting a parallel between historical artistic evolution and the development of AI models.

Tim Boucher makes a similar argument, pointing out that “the importance of being able to mutually build on human knowledge and creativity for the betterment of the lives of all peoples”.

Outputs: Authorship and Copyright Infringements

The joint submission by 80 artists calls for the USCO to study and understand the creative process with generative AI for better clarity on the copyrightability of AI-generated works. As regards copyright infringements, while the existing copyright law should continue to tackle direct infringements, it should also provide clarity for legitimate re-use and building upon existing works. Misuse of AI for infringing outputs should be addressed without restricting the technology itself.

Elisa Shupe, a published author and disabled veteran, passionately defends the authenticity and personal connection that led to the publication of her AI-assisted book, confronting the narrative that AI diminishes the value of human-authored works. Her experience underscores the importance of recognizing the human element in AI-assisted creations.This view is also put forward by Tim Boucher, who points out that “each prompt,each image result,and each subsequent iteration along the way constitute in a very real sense the equivalent of a brushstroke within the context of AI art”.

Matthew Wright, an artist who incorporates AI into his creative workflow, advocates for the extension of copyright protections to AI-assisted works that undergo significant alterations by the artist. His viewpoint echoes the historical acceptance of derivative and transformative art within the legal framework, as he refers to “Merz, Collage, Dadaism, and other surrealist and expressionist works”.

Pat Tremblay and Michael Summey, both artists in their respective fields, challenge the traditional perceptions of copyright infringement in the context of AI. They draw parallels between AI art and recognized art movements such as pop-art that recontextualize cultural elements, questioning the potential overreach of copyright law into the realm of personal use and the absurdities that could arise from hasty legislative action.

Featured image created with DALL·E