AI Art Piece Wins Big Competition. Problem – It Can’t Be Copyrighted

A piece of AI art with the extravagant title Théâtre D’opéra Spatial became notorious a year ago after it won a fine art competition. And now it’s in the headlines again for a different reason. The epic sc-fi fantasy scene may have won a prize, but its creator has a problem: he can’t copyright it.

The artwork was created using Midjourney, a platform that features in our pick of the best AI art generators. The judges apparently didn’t realise that when they named it the winner of the digital art category at the Colorado State Fair, but the US Copyright Office isn’t so easily fooled.

Allen’s prize-winning AI art (Image credit: Jason Allen via Midjourney)

Artists were appalled when Théâtre D’opéra Spatial won its prize last year. Matthew Allen, who generated and submitted the piece, had written “via Midjourney” on his entry, but judges appeared either not to have seen or not to have understood the reference to a text-to-image generator that, back then, had only been around for a couple of months.

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