[ExI] Artificial art?

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Sat Mar 12 21:47:32 UTC 2016

On Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 10:04 AM, Dave Sill <sparge at gmail.com> wrote:

> This is very cool:
> http://www.boredpanda.com/inceptionism-neural-network-deep-dream-art/
> Ties in with the AlphaGo talk. Is this art? Yeah, sure... But it's closer
> to manipulating images with a filter than it is to a real artist creating
> something from memory, imagination, or even a sketch.
> Also, it's not clear just how much credit for the results goes to the
> neural net vs. the human who fed it the input and possibly tweaked the
> output.

Thanks for the link!  This is useful in a discussion I'm having elsewhere
right now.

>From a pure legal perspective - setting aside for the moment all moral &
ethical questions of who or what should get the credit - copyright on the
result goes to the human who selected the input art pieces and pushed the
button to create the result, since the neural net is legally incapable of

That came up in another discussion just this morning.  About two decades
ago, I created music with autocomposer software - doing nothing more than
selecting the theme and a few other settings, clicking the button, waiting
for it to finish, then evaluating the output to see if I judged it worth
sharing, and tweaking a small number that were almost but not quite there,
such as trimming off long silences at the end of music intended to loop.
(It took some hours to come up with the entire set - which, if I'd been
doing this for pay rather than just for myself, would have counted as
standard working labor.  I uploaded the results to
http://www.wingedcat.org/music/ if you want to hear them.)

Now someone else wanted to use said music, but had to make sure the legal
rights were rock solid.  Who owns the rights to it?  Not the person who
created the tool.  Not the tool itself.  That left just me.

Now back to the question of who should get the credit.  This particular
neural net is not capable of independent action.  It can not operate a bank
account, it will never go on strike, it has no function or life outside of
this purpose.  It is thus a tool, and the established principle is that a
person gets credit for what that person creates no matter how well made the
tools are.

The line blurs if the "tools" are people.  Certainly, many corporations
would like to and have tried to treat their labor as disposable tools, but
the law has tended to steer against that (though there have been many
notable exceptions), thus needing special arrangements to clarify what
counts as "works for hire" where the employer does wind up with all rights
to the result.
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