Court Ruling Crushes Disney’s A.I. Dreams

Court Rules AI Can't be Copyrighted
Credit: Flickr

One of the main hangups between the studios and writers’ and actors’ guilds is the use of artificial intelligence. Studios desperately want to use it as often as possible to save money, while writers and actors see this as the death of their profession. The Walt Disney Company is so desperate to get into the A.I. game that they have posted 11 jobs for people with “expertise in artificial intelligence or machine learning.”

the walt disney company entrance;

Credit: Disney

Related: A.I. is Taking Over The World, But Mickey Mouse Isn’t Worried About Losing His Job

Those job posting touch on nearly every aspect of the company, including Imagineering to the television division. Disney’s idea is simple: use artificial intelligence to write television shows and possibly movies to replace writers and save money. It’s an idea that studios love, but actors and writers hate. There is even some concern that A.I. could replace Disney’s animators.

But now, Disney’s A.I. dreams have become the reality of United States Federal law. Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said that AI-created artwork is not eligible for copyright protection. In her decision, she said that for a creative piece to have copyright protection, it must have human authorship.

Luke Skywalker, Grogu, Book of Boba Fett

Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

The case comes from a computer scientist Stephen Thaler who was denied copyright protection for a piece of two-dimensional art created by his A.I. Program, “Creativity Machine.” When the copyright was denied, he sued the U.S. Copyright Office.

In the ruling, Howell wrote:

Courts have uniformly declined to recognize copyright in works created absent any human involvement. Undoubtedly, we are approaching new frontiers in copyright as artists put AI in their toolbox to be used in the generation of new visual and other artistic works.

For Disney, this means that A.I.-generated work is not eligible for copyright protection. Disney would be doing the creative work but would be open to fair use.

Indiana Jones De-Aging Scene

Credit: Lucasfilm

This puts a bit of a damper on Hollywood studios’ plans to try to save money by replacing writers or actors with A.I.-generated material. But as Judge Howell said, this is uncharted territory, and Congress can permanently change copyright law. It remains to be seen what will come next for generative A.I.

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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