How the "monkey selfie" is affecting copyright law for art and writing produced by artificial intelligence

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I feel like any of the “rogue like” video games should’ve would’ve covered this ground already. Although maybe not… So if twitch streamer Fruity McSalad face (or whatever) records a play through of a rogue like game, who owns the copyright? The game developer? the streamer?


I would think such a video would still infringe the video game developer’s copyright (although depending on their views of how these videos affect their sales, they might not care to enforce it). Even procedurally generated levels contain content developed by humans: sprites, background, music etc., at least some of which is likely eligible for copyright protection.


In 2001 a white-faced capuchin in Nicaragua stole my camera and took a picture. The picture didn’t turn out well (an overexposed mess) and there was no internet frenzy. At the time I was happy about the cool experience, now I’m thinking I could have started a whole copyright reform movement


I believe what will happen is: in order to copyright their AI-generated “works”, researchers will have to acknowledge that while a neural network produced the work, it was set in motion by their design and training, and given a task by a human, and so the works are just another form of machine-assisted human creation, just as my poem typed with the help of automated spellcheck corrections is not the creation of Microsoft Word. The benefit to society will be fewer breathless bullshit articles about AIs composing music, painting pictures, etc.


That whole monkey suit was bullshit peta shenanigans. If I set up a trail cam, does that mean that the bears and deer have copyright? If a set up camera or hell, even a little ink grapher connected to a rainfall sensor, does that mean the rain has copyright?

In the case of AI, until we have one that can argue it’s own sentience, we assign the copyright to the work created to whoever sent the magic brain on it’s way to make it. Not the AI, not the creator of the AI, not the fucking hardware maker. The “director”.

Simple. Now fuck off with these infinite extensions in a time when creating is easier than ever, and that’s copyright fixed in a goddamn nutshell.


Put succinctly but to the point.

I remember at time thinking that if I dropped a camera, and some dude picked it up and took a pic, then I said hey Gimme that back. It wouldn’t mean they have any kind of ownership over my camera or pics, never mind a monkey doing it.


Hell, given the nature of modern digital tools, you might as well say, “You didn’t create that image, Photoshop did!” Tools like that are now chock-full of neural network stuff, and they raised the issue before that was the case - after all, artists using it are relying on others’ aesthetic choices, encoded into the tool by the software programmers, to make their work. But this new attitude would ironically create even more issues for someone who writes their own software explicitly for the purpose of creating images. That’s been happening for decades, the issue long since settled.

Yep, I mean it’s been true for a long time, even before the existence of “smart” digital tools (which have already become ubiquitous) - art has always been full of “happy accidents.” Intent has always been a part of it; direction was always part of it; ownership has always been a part of it. (Even if I accidentally take a picture, the picture is mine because I was generally intending to take pictures, because the camera was mine…)

Ironically it’s because people are anthropomorphizing the monkey (and the software), attributing some level of intent to them, that forms the basis of this legal ruling. They’re basically saying: The intent is theirs, so any copyright would be theirs, but they’re not human, so there can’t be a legal copyright.


The fact that the your/the monkey’s pic was of poor quality probably would have led this down the correct path, rather than the “THE MOnKE IS A GOoD PHOToGRAPhER” shit we have now.

Admittedly, that monkey really had a grasp of focus and composition.

You are confusing two things: Copyright law, and PETA’s self-serving lawsuit.

Copyright law in the US is clear. Things created by nature can’t be copyrighted. Monkeys are definitely nature, so no copyright by a human on a photo taken by a monkey. AI is not nature. Nor are trail cams. You need to stick to the contours of copyright law when talking about copyright law.

On a side note, the photographer’s story changed. He first claimed the photo was taken by the monkey, and the monkey selfie story was a sensation. Only later, when it was clear he’d lose any copyright claims, did he subsequently change his story to claim the monkey did not snap the photo.

This is my favourite monkey suit:


Waiting for the shitstorm that is a monkey using artificial intelligence to make a thing.

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The streamer probably owns the copyright. Assuming the streamer is showing herself while she streams, and is talking providing commentary while she’s playing, it would probably be transformative enough to fall under the fair use exemption. Heck, reaction videos have been found to be fair use as long as there’s commentary, so I don’t know why video game streaming wouldn’t be.

Woah now. Sure…monkey-selfies and bad poetry sure is one thing.
But lemme throw this out there:

“AI” generated small molecule drug candidate…

There’s money in them thar’ ills.

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