Harold Cohen created the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) artist, AARON, in 1970, causing a revolution in computer engineering and the arts. As AI technology advanced, companies such as OpenAI developed image-generating software that anyone could use to generate an image on demand.

Popularity of image-generating programmes online today is accompanied by a legal conflict between humans and machines. The issue of copyright infringement arises when AI artists create works using Internet-based preexisting data. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1988 established a notice-and-takedown system for copyright owners, but copyright laws frequently conflict with other regulations, including the Fair Use doctrine.

When Disney concept artist Hollie Mengert discovered that her online portfolio had been used to train the AI image generator Stable Diffusion, this issue came to light. Although the user defended his actions as Fair Use, legal experts have differing opinions on the matter.

It is possible for non-artists to replicate the style and work of an artist, which has far-reaching implications for AI art. As AI continues to develop, it will be necessary to observe what regulations are enacted to safeguard the rights of both human and machine artists.

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