Just wanted to capture here the text of my latest press release (written with help from Claude 2) regarding my submission to the US Copyright Office and Canadian government’s public consultations on generative AI and copyright.
“AI Is My Paintbrush, I’m Still the Artist” – Copyright Offices Hear from AI Artist Tim Boucher
AI artist Tim Boucher urges US & Canadian Copyright Offices to offer artists the same copyright protections for AI-assisted works as those made in any other medium.
Notable Canadian sci-fi author and generative AI artist Tim Boucher has submitted his perspective as an expert practitioner to both the US Copyright Office and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s public consultations on copyright and Artificial Intelligence. His submission is part of a larger group of Artists Using Generative AI sending in statements about their work with AI.
Boucher, known for using AI tools to create over 100 illustrated viral mini-novels, was one of the artists who recently helped draft an open letter to the US Congress advocating for inclusion of artists in high-level AI policy discussions. He also made headlines for independently proposing a radical “Digital Terms of Service for AI Providers” to the Canadian government, articulating a rights-based framework aimed at proactively protecting Canadians from potential harms of AI systems, which garnered interest from federal ministers and political parties alike.
Boucher is now building on those efforts by submitting his in-depth take on AI and copyright to the US and Canadian copyright offices. In his new submission, Boucher argues that artists play an indispensable role in pioneering innovative uses of new technologies like AI. He believes artists should have the same copyright protections over their AI-assisted creations as they would with any other medium.
“Artists stand at the forefront of technical progress, exploring new tools first, finding their best uses, and pushing the cutting edge even further beyond what their developers imagined,” Boucher stated. “If we deny artists like me protections over our art that incorporates AI, we risk stifling innovation and suppressing a potential AI Art Renaissance before it has had a chance to take flight.”
Boucher proposes the novel concept of an “hypercanvas” where generative art exists in a higher-dimensional space, with each AI prompt and output being a “brushstroke” on this bigger canvas. He suggests thinking in terms of this larger holistic unified creative work unfolding on the hypercanvas, not just the individual fractured outputs of AI generators when evaluating these issues.
The submission identifies the importance of artists being able to analyze and compare past creative works to create new ones, including using AI. It states that using copyrighted works to train AI systems should generally be considered fair use and transformative (as they do not seek to reproduce the original works, but to build something new), and this principle should be clearly affirmed to reduce legal uncertainties for artists and technologists.
Overall, Boucher makes an impassioned case that artists should have the same incentives and protections to create using AI tools as with any other medium. As he puts it, “AI is my paintbrush, I’m still the artist. My AI art comes from my vision, my life as an artist, and is part of my ongoing creative efforts like anything else. AI is simply one tool of many that I use to express myself; AI is not the creator, I am. I want our authorship to be fully recognized and protected.”
Boucher also calls for greater transparency from AI companies regarding the copyright status of generated outputs, which is currently cloudy. He additionally supports the creation of high quality sustainable training data sets for AI, with clear compensation schemes for contributors of all types, not just artists. His balanced proposals aim to maintain artistic freedoms while respecting rights as AI becomes ever more entwined with the Arts.
The full submission document is available on his website at timboucher.ca.
And here’s a meme I made in Dalle3 in support of this, though I could not get the text to come out correctly, so had to do that in Photoshop.
I don’t necessarily think all art is effectively equal (some is good to my tastes, some is less good), but I do think that all Arts (capital A) and all art forms are at root equal, including those that make use of AI. It’s then up to the artist to determine what to do with it.