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Chinese Court Recognizes Copyright for AI-Generated Image, Boosting Creators in Emerging Field

In a groundbreaking decision, a Chinese court has recognized the copyright of an image generated through artificial intelligence (AI), aiming to encourage the growth of this nascent industry.

The Beijing Internet Court ruled that an image created using the text-to-image software Stable Diffusion should be considered an artwork protected by copyright laws. The judge who made the landmark ruling, Zhu Ge, believes that assigning legal status to generative AI content under certain conditions will inspire creators to explore new tools and techniques.


The ruling, the first of its kind in mainland China, has sparked debates about whether AI-generated content should be protected by copyright laws. However, the Beijing Internet Court has clarified that disputes regarding an author's personal expression in AI-assisted images should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.


The lawsuit that led to this decision was initiated by a plaintiff surnamed Li, who used the US start-up StabilityAI's Stable Diffusion program to create an image of a young Asian woman. Li accused a blogger named Liu of using the image without permission on the Chinese content-sharing platform Baijiahao, owned by Baidu.


The court ruled in favor of Li, considering his AI-generated image as an artwork that reflected his aesthetic choices and personalised judgment. Judge Zhu emphasised that the ruling was made with the potential implications for emerging industries in mind. She hopes that her decision will serve as a reference for future disputes involving AI-generated content. China's generative AI industry is expected to contribute 30 trillion yuan worth of economic value by 2035, accounting for a third of the global value of the industry, according to a report by the CCID Group.


The court's recognition of copyright for AI-generated images aligns with China's aspirations to lead in the field of generative AI. The country aims to harness the transformative power of AI to improve various industries and enhance people's daily lives. Chinese tech firms, including Meituan and Alibaba, have been actively investing in generative AI to grow their businesses. Meituan recently launched Wow, a chatbot that provides personalised responses, while Alibaba featured an online shop for digital products based on Baidu's virtual assistant Duxiaoxiao during its Singles' Day campaign.

 
  • Chinese court recognizes copyright for AI-generated image, boosting the nascent industry

  • Ruling encourages creators to explore new tools and techniques in generative AI

  • Disputes regarding AI-assisted images to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis


Source: SCMP

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