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Artificial Intelligence generated content may soon be eligible for copyright protection in the US if the created content has significant human involvement. US Copyright Office issued new guidance clarifying whether the material produced by ‘sophisticated artificial intelligence’ technologies is protected under copyright.

According to the US Copyright Office, works containing AI-generated content can only be given copyright protection if the ‘elements of authorship in the work’ are done by a human and not a machine. The office also opined that it was essentially a 'case-by-case inquiry' which will focus on how the particular AI tool operates and how it was used to create the final product. 

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In a statement released earlier this week, the Copyright Office said, "In the case of works containing AI-generated material, the Office will consider whether the AI contributions are the result of ‘mechanical reproduction’ or instead of an author's ‘own original mental conception, to which [the author] gave visible form"

However, the US Copyright Office also warned that the currently available generative AI technologies do not give users creative control over how their systems interpret prompts and generate material. Instead, the office contended, these prompts function more like instructions to a 'commissioned artist', where the machine determines how those instructions are implemented in its output.

This is not the first time that the US Copyright Office has taken up the issues of copyright protection in AI-generated content. In a decision issued last month, the Office had said images generated by Midjourney AI in Kris Kashtanova's comic book ‘Zarya of the Dawn’ could not be protected under the copyright law. However, it also noted that the human-authored text of the graphic novel along with its unique elements constituted a copyrightable work.

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The new guidance by the US copyright office come at a time when Generative AI-based technologies like Viral chatbot ChatGPT or text-to-image generation platforms like DALL-E and Midjouney have become increasingly popular. 

San-Francisco based startup OpenAI released its newly developed next-generation language model GPT-4. The company claims the multimodal language model has the ability to exhibit ‘human-level performance on various professional and academic benchmarks’.

Generative Pre-trained Transformer(GPT) is a deep learning technique that employs artificial neural networks to produce human-like writing.

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