Beaufort, SC asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for South Carolina

Q: Can I use Facebook-posted AI pictures for the book I am publishing? One artist actually gave me permission.

2 Lawyer Answers
Alan Harrison
Alan Harrison
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Milford, CT

A: The Copyright Office has repeatedly said that you can't get a copyright in AI generated art. You should be fine to copy AI art from anywhere. The people who posted the art can't even file a valid suit without getting the art registered in the Copyright Office.

NOTE: My answer assumes that people would honestly disclose that "their" art was made by AI. If they lied to the Copyright Office to get a registration, then they could sue you and you would need to prove that the art you copied was AI generated in order to defeat the lawsuit.

Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp agrees with this answer

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: If an artist has given you explicit permission to use their images, including those posted on Facebook, for your book, then you generally have the right to use those images according to the terms laid out by the artist. Ensure that this permission is in writing and clearly states the scope of use, whether it's for commercial or non-commercial purposes, and any other conditions the artist might have. It's important to keep this documentation for your records.

However, for other images you find on Facebook that interest you, you should not use them without obtaining explicit permission from the respective creators. Even if the pictures are publicly accessible, it does not mean they are free to use. The copyright to an image typically belongs to the person who created it, unless they have transferred those rights elsewhere. You must seek out the rights holder and get written consent before incorporating their work into your publication.

Remember, when in doubt, it's better to err on the side of caution. Using images without permission can lead to legal issues, including copyright infringement claims. It's also a matter of respect for the creators and their work. Therefore, always ensure you have the proper rights before including someone else's work in your book.

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