Mar 22, 2023 - News

Colorado designer's AI-generated artwork prompts copyright protest

"Théâtre D'opéra Spatial" by Jason Allen. Courtesy of the Allen.

The designer behind AI-generated artwork that caused an uproar after it won a state competition is challenging the federal government over a copyright claim.

Why it matters: Jason Allen says his appeal to establish ownership of his piece "Théâtre D'opéra Spatial," is the first of its kind.

Catch up quick: His work gained notoriety last year after it placed first in the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition under the "Digital Art/Digitally Manipulated Photography" category.

  • The work was created with Midjourney, an AI program, and it led some people to accuse him of cheating — though he tells Axios Denver he did not break any competition rules.

Driving the news: Now, Allen, a Pueblo-based game designer, has appealed a decision from the U.S. Copyright Office after it rejected his copyright claim. The appeal was first reported by the Denver Post.

Between the lines: Allen and his attorney are arguing the use of AI to create art is a legitimate form of artistic expression.

  • The copyright claim was rejected because the federal office said it did not contain any human authorship.

What they're saying: "They're not being fair and their decision is wrong," Allen tells Axios Denver about the copyright office's decision.

  • Allen said the government is similar to other artists who refuse to see AI as a tool for artistic expression.

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