Who owns AI generated content?

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As the use of AI content grows, there are more and more questions about the ownership and rights of this type of content. The Get A Copywriter team conducted an extensive investigation into this matter to answer the most common questions and find out if there’s a safe way to use AI writing tools.

But what exactly is AI content? Get an overview of what this type of writing is and how it works.

AI generated content: trend or delusion?

Why ownership of content is important

Under general copyright law, creative content (whether that’s written content, images, video, or other types of content) is considered to be the intellectual property of the person who created it.

However, when a business hires an agency or freelancer to create content, both parties will usually sign an agreement giving the business the rights to the content they purchased. Similarly, if an in-house writer creates content for a company, the business owns all of the rights to that content, not the writer.

Being clear about content ownership when you’re running a business is vital. If you don’t own the rights to your content, then you can’t use it legally. If you publish content you don’t own the rights to, the copyright owner could take legal action against you.

Content ownership definition

A content owner is a person or company who has the exclusive right to use, reproduce, modify, and distribute creative content. This also includes any derivatives of that content.

Content ownership is different from copyright. Copyright is a legal protection given to creators of original works, which grants them certain rights. On the other hand, content ownership is an agreement between two parties (typically the creator and the buyer) that establishes who has the right to use a certain piece of content.

Understanding content ownership

Content ownership has become a hot topic in recent years due to the rise in popularity of social media and content-sharing platforms like Medium.

The rules around content ownership are complicated by these platforms. If you created the content, you own the copyright: that much is certain. But if you post your content on platforms like Medium, does the platform own it? Can other people repost or use your content without permission?

And if you use a tool or software to help you create that content, the situation becomes even more complicated. Who owns the content you’ve created with AI — you or the software provider?

Ownership rights of digital content

When it comes to digital content ownership, there are a few factors that need to be taken into consideration:

  • Who created the content — Are you the original creator? If not, did you purchase the rights to use it?
  • Who is hosting the content — If you’re using a content-sharing platform or social media platform, then they may own certain elements of the content that you post.
  • Are you using software or tools to create your content? — If so, who owns the copyright on any content generated with these tools?

Ownership rights of website content

If you host content on a website, then you typically own all of the rights to that content. This includes any text, images, videos, and other elements.

However, if you use third-party services (such as web hosting companies or content management systems) to host your website, then they may have some ownership over certain parts of your website’s content.

It’s important to check the terms and conditions of any third-party services you use to fully understand the ownership rights of any content you host on your website.

Ownership rights of social media content

When it comes to social media content, ownership rights can be more complicated.

Each social media platform has terms and conditions you agree to when you create an account, and these usually state that the platform has some ownership rights to the content you post.

This means that while you do own the copyright to your content, the platform may have certain rights over it as well. Social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram do not claim ownership of your content. But, by using them, you grant them a license to use, copy, and distribute that content. In some cases, they can even sell the license to third parties.

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AI data ownership: issues and concerns

AI-generated content is a relatively new topic, and the rules surrounding ownership are still being worked out.

EU and US copyright laws currently do not allow for copyrighting content created by AI. This is because a content creator has to be human or a “legal personality” (a person with legal rights on behalf of a company). As AI content is created by an algorithm, it doesn’t fit either of these criteria. Australian copyright law will also only grant copyright to literary or artistic works “made by a human author.”

However, this rule only applies if the content is created solely by AI. Once this content is changed with human editing, it can be copyrightable — and the human editor (or the company they work for) would become the owner of the content.

There are also ethical concerns around ownership of data generated by AI tools. AI algorithms often use data from a variety of sources that may be owned or copyrighted by others. As such, it may be classed as a derivative work. But, without knowing the source, it would be impossible to credit the original owners.

AI content writing risks

There are still a lot of murky waters when it comes to AI content writing and copyright. As a content creator or publisher, it’s important to be aware of the risks involved with using AI-generated content in your own work.

  1. Firstly, there’s always the risk that someone else could claim ownership rights over the content you create with AI. This means that if you unintentionally plagiarize someone else’s work, you may be liable for copyright infringement.
  2. As you’re using third-party AI services, you may be subject to their terms and conditions. This means that they could own the rights to any content you create with their AI tools.
  3. Most AI tools available today are known for their tendency to “hallucinate” or state incorrect information as facts. This means there is a high risk of publishing inaccurate content if you leave AI-generated content unchecked.
  4. Finally, in order to claim copyright on your AI content, you must be able to prove that it was created with “substantial human input.” If you don’t have evidence to support this, you may not be able to protect your content from being copied and used by others.
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Determining ownership of AI-generated content

So who does own AI content? Ultimately, it’s down to the terms and conditions of the platform you’re using.

Ask ChatGPT who owns the content it generates and it will tell you something like: “As an AI language model, I do not have any ownership over the content that I generate.” That doesn’t really explain much, but the OpenAI terms of use state that they will not claim copyright over any content created with their API.

Jasper’s terms and conditions are less clear, although the CEO has confirmed that they also give up all rights to AI content generated by their platform.

It’s important to note that there’s nothing stopping any AI platform from changing its terms and conditions at any time. So make sure you read the fine print before you sign up, and stay aware of any changes that might affect your ownership rights.

And with all that being said, there’s always a possibility that the content you create with AI is not unique. If AI creates the same piece of content for two users, who will own the copyright? There have also been cases of AI tools copying content word for word from other sources, so there’s no guarantee that you can claim ownership without substantial editing.

Is your content really yours?

In conclusion, AI-generated content is still a relatively new and uncharted area when it comes to ownership, intellectual property rights, and copyright law.

There’s no denying the advantages that AI offers. For some simple copywriting tasks like writing short descriptions, AI can do a good enough job if used in combination with a human editor. This is an easy way to solve the problems related to ownership, copy accuracy, and uniqueness while still benefiting from the speed and convenience of AI.

While the legal complexities are still being ironed out, there’s only one way to make sure that your content is really yours: either write it yourself or hire a human copywriter to create it or edit it for you and give you full rights to the content.

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Apr 20, 2023

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Rachel broke her high school English teacher's heart by ditching creative subjects for maths and science. Since then, she's been on a mission to balance her analytical mind with her love for storytelling, and found her niche in the world of digital marketing and technology.

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