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AI-Generated Logos: Navigating the Complex Landscape Of Copyright Issues

AI Logos and copyright text over a colourful eye and rawmarrow logo in the top left corner.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed many sectors, including graphic design. AI programs can now generate logos, making the logo creation process faster, cheaper, and much more accessible. However, the rise of AI in logo design has sparked a heated debate on copyright issues, considering now we are dealing with works created not human intellect but a machine. See this QANDA episode if you are interested in AI and AI in artwork.

This blog post is a result of getting a few queries from small business owners. Some were wanting to use AI to generate a logo and another had generated an AI logo but it was not a vector file.

rawmarrow biz bites blog summary

1. Copyright law for AI Generated logos/artwork is evolving.
2. If using AI Logo Generators check the terms of usage.
3. Modify the design or get a designer to do this for you.
4. Be cautious and ensure your logo complies with copyright laws to protect your brand and business.

Issues with AI Generated Logos.

Before we get into copyright we just want to state that the output of anything from an AI model relies solely on the inputs that it is given. Most small business owners come to us for logos and branding precisely because they do not know much about design and marketing principles. Similarly while some of our clients have tried out AI they are not AI prompt engineers, so their output would not be as professional. However they also might not be able to recognise the flaws or limitations of the AI generated output.  To see the more about the actual AI generation of logo output go to this blog post.

typewriter with the words “copyright claim” typed on paper.

Understanding Copyright.

Before we delve deeper, let’s quickly define what copyright is. Essentially, copyright laws grant creators exclusive rights to their original work. This includes replication, adaptation, and distribution rights. Traditionally, these laws have been applicable to works of creativity emanating from the human intellect.

The Conundrum with AI-Generated Logos.

When it comes to AI-generated logos, who then really is the rightful owner? Is it the AI developer or the end-user who customised the logo to their preference? Or can we consider AI as an autonomous entity and the rightful creator of its outputs?

Current legislation in nearly all jurisdictions does not directly address the copyright implications of AI. 

The U.S. Copyright Office states that to be eligible for copyright, a work needs to be created a human being. Following this approach, AI-generated logos would fall into the public domain.

AI-Generated Logos And Copyright Laws: An Australian Perspective.

The entrance of artificial intelligence (AI) into creative and intellectual fields like graphic design, particularly in logo generation, continues to spark pressing questions regarding issues of copyright law. Among other countries grappling with these developing concerns, Australia offers an intriguing landscape. How are these matters handled within an Australian context?

Understanding Copyright in Australia.

Copyright law in Australia aims to protect the original artistic works created individuals. Once this creative work takes on a material form, be it a painting, a photograph or a logo design, that work is automatically protected copyright in Australia.

Issues with AI-Generated Logos in Australian Copyright Laws.

The problem lies in defining creation and authorship when it comes to AI-generated logos. Traditionally, copyright laws in Australia, similar to most jurisdictions, focus on human creativity and authorship. As outlined in the Australian Copyright Act, copyright is a right given to the creators of original literary, musical, dramatic and artistic works and other forms of intellectual property.

However, AI’s involvement in generating a logo introduces considerable complexity. Who becomes the original author in this case? Is it the AI, or the developer who created the AI, or the end-user who selected and customised the logo?

The Current Legal Stand in Australia.

Australian laws currently do not definitively address the copyright implications of AI-produced works. The understanding so far has been geared towards recognising the person who made the creative decisions, such as setting the parameters or making significant alterations, as the copyright owner. However, if the AI operates independently and the user makes minimal creative input, the situation remains murky.

Edited 29/11/2023 to link to this article from ABC

Navigating AI-Logo Copyright in Australia.

While AI has opened up revolutionary possibilities in creative fields like design, it has also led to complex legal predicaments. Australian laws surrounding AI-generated logos currently reflect a worldwide lack of consensus on this topic. While technology strides forth at rapid speeds, the law must strive to keep pace and provide clear guidelines. Users however are intrigued anything that can output quickly and potentially save them money.

However, considerations may also be made for the input given humans in the form of initial design parameters, or the AI developer’s role in creating the AI could be acknowledged with rights. Many believe that if a user significantly alters an AI-generated logo, they should rightfully own the copyright. 

AI Robot sitting on a seat with a tablet.


Navigating the Labyrinth 

As discussed, the legal mechanisms to regulate AI-generated creative works are still largely undeveloped. So, how can you safely use AI-generated logos without violating any potential copyright laws?

1. Use Trusted AI Logo Generator

Make sure to use an AI logo generator platform that states in its terms and conditions that users will retain full copyright over generated logos.

2. Modify the Design

Make significant design changes to the AI-generated logo. This way, you’ve added a human touch to the logo, which makes it eligible for copyright. Note that not everyone has the ability to make significant design changes so you may need to take it to a designer to make enough changes to be “significant”. We can’t find a definition of what are “significant changes”.

3. Register the Logo

Once you’ve situated your AI-generated logo within legally accepted parameters (what are these exactly? Work is still being done in this area for Australian context please see below) consider registering the logo.

The Australian Copyright Council (ACC) has not issued any specific policy statements on AI-generated logos. However, the ACC has published a number of resources on AI and copyright, including a report on the copyright implications of AI in the creative industries.

In its report, the ACC notes that the copyright status of AI-generated works is currently uncertain. This is because copyright law in Australia, like copyright law in most jurisdictions, is based on the concept of human authorship. AI-generated works are not created humans, so it is not clear whether they are eligible for copyright protection.

The ACC recommends that the Australian government undertake a review of copyright law to address the issue of AI-generated works. In the meantime, the ACC suggests that users of AI-generated works should exercise caution and seek legal advice if they are unsure about the copyright status of a work.

The ACC Factsheet is here

An example of AI Generator Terms

Quoting from Canva AI Product Terms

You are responsible for any text you type in, or images or other content you upload, to AI Products (Input) as well as the resulting material you generate, such as images or text (Output). You are responsible for ensuring that your Input and Output complies with these terms and our Acceptable Use Policy before using or sharing it. You agree that you will not include any sensitive personal data (including data that reveals racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, health data or data concerning your sex life or sexual orientation) in any Input to AI Products.

As between you and Canva, to the extent permitted law and subject to the terms of the agreement that governs your use of Canva, you own your Input and Output and instruct and give Canva the right to host and use your Input and Output on our platform. Canva will not make any copyright ownership claim over your Input or Output.

You may use your Output for any legal purpose, provided that you comply with these terms and that you accept that any such use is at your own risk.

When using Output in your Canva designs, we ask that you let viewers of your designs know that the content is AI-generated.” (emphasis ours). 
How does this work with AI generated logos, in practice?

In Conclusion

As the complexities with AI-generated work copyright issues unfold, it is a subject that promises endless debate and continued legal evolution.

Being aware and informed about the potential copyright issues surrounding AI-generated logos is integral. As lawyers and policymakers grapple with these questions, you as a business use AI logo generators wisely and stay within legally acceptable boundaries. However as this is evolving the “legally acceptable boundaries” are difficult to find for small business owners, and many do not care or even think about this unless an issue arises.

If you are worried about taking a chance or can’t afford legal advice come talk to us about your branding. We’re much friendlier and more flexible than AI!

If you have a AI generated logo in vector format that you need changes to contact us for help. Note that we can not always accomodate such requests depending on our current schedule, but we will try 🙂


2 thoughts on “AI-Generated Logos: Navigating the Complex Landscape Of Copyright Issues”

  1. Pingback: Reflect on AI Generated Logos for your Business. - rawmarrowblog

  2. Pingback: AI-Generated Images: Balancing Promise and Pitfalls for Small Businesses. - rawmarrowblog

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