Robot art sold at auction

An artwork generated by AI was sold at Christie's auction house for $432,500.

For some time, Sirris has taken a close interest in the protection of AI tools by the legal arsenal of intellectual protection as well as the protection of work created by machines. Can works created autonomously by a robot enjoy copyright protection? If so, who owns this right? This question is far from being just theoretical. Late October, a first work of art generated by AI was sold at Christie's auction house for $432,500.

The economic issues of the copyright question are therefore considerable for the cultural sector in general and for artists in particular.

The work, titled 'Portrait of Edmond Belamy', is a representation of a fictional character. It was created by Obvious Art, a Paris-based collective of artists using a machine learning algorithm of GAN type (Generative Adversarial Network). The tool is an algorithm of Ian Goodfollow (Google Brain).
The system was fed with a data set of 15,000 portraits painted from the 14th century to the 20th.

The 70 x 70 cm portrait (and others representing the character's 'family') was printed and put into a classically inspired frame.
The signature on the portrait is an algebraic formula, min G max D Ex[log(D(x))]+Ez[log(1-D(G(z))].

For Obvious Art, "If the artist is the one that creates the image, then that would be the machine; if the artist is the one that holds the vision and wants to share the message, then that would be us!".


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