Can Machines Create Truly Authentic Content?

Understanding the Legal Assessment of AI-Generated Content


Copyright law is based on the idea that to be protected by copyright, a work must be original. So, if AI-generated content is considered to be original, does that mean it is eligible for copyright protection?

As AI technology advances, it is becoming easier and easier for machines to create content that is indistinguishable from that created by humans. This has raised questions about the authenticity of AI-generated content, and whether it can truly be considered the original work of a human author.

There are a number of factors to consider when assessing the authenticity of AI-generated content. Below are some key considerations.

A Look at the Authenticity of AI-generated Content

When it comes to copyrighted material, determining who the author is can be a complex task.

In the past, copyright law has been used to protect the original creations of human authors. This means that, in order to qualify for copyright protection, the work must be created by a human being.

However, with the rise of AI-generated content, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine who the author is. This is because machines are able to create content that is indistinguishable from that created by humans. As a result, there is a growing need for clarification about what constitutes original authorship under copyright law.

Considering AI-Generated Content and Copyright Law

It is important to consider how existing copyright law will be applied to AI-generated content.

When a human creates content, that content is automatically copyrighted. However, when a machine creates content, it is not automatically protected by copyright law. To receive copyright protection, the content must be deemed “original” by a court of law. This is a difficult distinction to make, as it is often difficult to determine whether the content was created by a human or a machine.

In many, if not mist cases, it is likely that AI-generated content will not be protected by copyright law. This is because machine-created content is not generally considered to be original work. However, if a human adds their own original thoughts to the AI-generated content, then copyright law may apply.

Naruto v. Slater:  Case About Monkey Business Spoils It for AI

In the case of Naruto v. Slater, a monkey named Naruto took a selfie with a camera that was left in his enclosure. The photographer, David Slater, claimed copyright on the photo and sued Wikimedia for using the image without permission. Ultimately the appeals court ruled that only humans can hold copyrights, not monkeys. Naruto v. Slater, 888 F. 3d 418 (9th Cir. 2018).

The ruling against handsome Naruto shown here likely means that any content created purely by AI is automatically in the public domain and anyone can use it without permission.

The U.S. Copyright Office for one reads the case that way. In 2019, the USCO denied an application filed by Dr. Stephen Thaler to register a work of art that “was autonomously created by a computer algorithm running on a machine,” called “A Recent Entrance to Paradise” The USCO did so because the creation lacked “the human authorship necessary to support a copyright claim.”

AI written Article that was Generated From a Human Created Outline may be protected

So, if you create an outline and a machine creates the content based on that outline, is the resulting work truly an original work of authorship? The answer may depend on how much humans are involved in the process. If you are simply providing an idea or topic for the machine to write about, it is unlikely that you would be considered the author of the resulting work. But maybe creating an outline and letting the robot do the rest is enough for legal protection? I would love to help make the law on that as I did with predictive coding.


There is no doubt that AI technology is rapidly evolving and becoming more sophisticated. This raises questions about the authenticity of content generated by machines and its impact on copyright law.

At this point, it is still difficult to create AI-generated content that is indistinguishable from that created by humans. However, as AI technology continues to evolve, it is likely that this will become increasingly easier to do.

It is important to assess the impact of AI-generated content on copyright law, and determine how best to protect the interests of both content creators and consumers. Here lawyers can be of help, preferably human ones, even if they do look like a Simpson’s character.

3 Responses to Can Machines Create Truly Authentic Content?

  1. Hi Ralph,

    You may find the article at the following link of interest. I wrote it with two colleagues at UWaterloo about a year ago:

    Hope all is well!


  2. Hi Ralph,

    Thought you might find the following article of interest. I wrote it with a couple of colleagues at UWaterloo about a year ago.

    Hope all is well!


  3. mrgrossm says:

    Hi Ralph,

    I thought you might find the following article of interest. I wrote it with a couple of UWaterloo colleagues about a year ago.

    Hope all is well!


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