Marshall Gerstein Files Amici Brief Surrounding AI Tools and Artist Copyright Protection

February 1, 2024

In a recent development, Marshall Gerstein partner Ryan N. Phelan, alongside the Marshall Gerstein team consisting of Jamie Daly and Deborah Pocius, and lead author Professor Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid, has filed an Amici Brief in support of Dr. Stephen Thaler, advocating for crucial copyright protection for artists utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) tools to craft valuable works of art. The brief emphasizes the growing significance of AI tools like DALLE-3 from OpenAI in artists' creative processes, underscoring the deserving nature of copyright protection for the efforts invested by artists using such innovative technologies. Furthermore, the brief extends its advocacy to disabled artists, exemplified by disabled veteran Elisa Rae Shupe, whose artistic capabilities are profoundly enhanced through the use of AI tools, enabling them to explore creative avenues previously inaccessible.

Ryan Phelan acknowledges the pivotal role of Professor Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid from Fordham University School of Law as the lead author and for her invitation to participate in drafting and filing the Amici Brief. He also highlights the collective effort with esteemed legal scholars, including Lawrence Lessig from Harvard University, Ge Chen (陈戈) from Durham University, and Christopher Mason from Weill Cornell Medicine, who collaborated in this significant endeavor. Reflecting on a historical precedent from 1884, where the U.S. Supreme Court extended copyright protection to photographs despite their mechanical creation, the brief poses a contemporary query: whether artworks generated by machines such as AI tools are entitled to copyright protection in the year 2024.

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