In Westlaw Reuters Article, James Raleigh and Mitch Hadley Examine Copyright Rules Regarding AI co-authored Comic Books

Knobbe Martens associate James Raleigh and partner Mitchell Hadley authored “Art of Ultron: AI looms over the comic book industry,” for Westlaw Reuters.

In the article, Mr. Raleigh and Mr. Hadley discuss the U.S. Copyright Office’s decision on the scope of copyright protection for “Zarya of the Dawn,” a comic book created using AI-generated art. The Copyright Office determined that the text of the work, as well as the selection and arrangement of images and text, were protectable by copyright, but that the individual images were not.

Mr. Raleigh and Mr. Hadley address how the decision affects the author’s rights with respect to the comic book, and how the decision would affect publishers like Marvel and DC if they were to start publishing comics created with AI-generated art. They write, “[w]hile the Copyright Office's policy seems to narrow the scope of protection for comic books comprising AI-generated images, creators can still significantly protect their comics” with overlapping trademark and copyright protections. “Without further limitations on the protectability of AI-generated art in comics, human artists face the risk of being replaced by AI.”

The authors address factors that may affect the future of AI in the entertainment industry, saying “[t]he public's reception to comics made using AI-generated art will affect their marketability. The degree of backlash Marvel faces for its ‘Secret Invasion’ introduction could indicate the feasibility of publishing comics ‘co-created’ by AI. How AI will transform the comic book industry remains to be seen, but the Copyright Office's recent decision appears to do little to slow it down.”

Read the full article here.