On November 27, 2023, the Beijing Internet Court (in case number (2023) Jung 0491 Min Chu No. 11279) recognized copyright ownership had vested in the user (in this case, also the Plaintiff) who had tasked an artificial intelligence (AI) with creating an image.
While not going so far as stating that the AI itself (in this case, Stable Diffusion) is the copyright owner, the case shows the potential for copyright protection even as applied to AI-generated works in China. This could signal a major boost in copyright enforcement, where AI is used as a tool to generate various artistic works.
The Court here analyzed a number of factors to determine whether the generated image was entitled to copyright protection and notably found that the image:
- Was the result of intellectual effort at least based upon the choices made by its user, but also because it was able to represent human creativity and ideas
- The image contained elements of originality through the prompts, descriptions, and other inputs provided by the user.
Given the Plaintiff's involvement in determining the parameters of the image, selecting the image, and instructing the AI model, the Court found that the Plaintiff was properly the author of the work - also noting that authorship is limited to natural persons, legal persons, or non-legal person organization.