Can AI Art Be Used Commercially? Understand These Before Selling


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AI art can be used commercially. AI art does not have automatic copyright protection, which means that AI art found online can be used commercially by anyone. Many individuals and small business owners already use AI art to make money online.

Key Takeaways

  • AI art can be used commercially.
  • AI art does not have automatic copyright protection, and ownership can’t be claimed.
  • AI art is already being used commercially on sites like Etsy, Artstation, and DeviantArt.

Using AI Art Commercially

There are no known laws to prohibit the use of AI art commercially. In fact, there are already a lot of individuals and small business owners selling AI art resources of all kinds.

Some of the AI art already being sold on marketplaces:

  • Printable wall art
  • Stickers
  • Video game assets
  • Reference and inspirational art for artists
  • Logo’s
  • Stock images
  • Print-on-demand products

When using AI art commercially, you need to remember that your work does not have automatic copyright protection the same way original and drawn digital art has.

This means that when you sell digital AI art files, anyone can use them any way they like, even if you would have written terms of use, etc. AI art does not have automatic copyright protection, and you can not claim ownership.

When these rules apply, terms of use, reselling, etc., laid out by you do not have any use.

Where To Use AI Art Commercially

An idea that could be used as an album cover, created with Midjourney AI art-generator

The most popular options currently are marketplaces like Etsy, Artstation, DeviantArt, and Gumroad. On Etsy, people sell printable wall art, coloring books, and stickers. In Artstation, AI art is sold as video game assets, character references, and stickers.

You can also use AI art when creating YouTube thumbnails, blog post feature images, or creating stock images for stock photo sites.

Some use AI art to create logo designs, album covers, book covers, etc.

AI Art And Copyright

In the U.S., the copyright law is very clear on using the human mind when creating something new.

Copyright is a form of intellectual property that gives creators control over how their original works, such as books, music, software, and art, are used and distributed.

It gives creators the right to say who can use their work, how it can be used, and who can make copies of it. This helps to ensure that creators are properly recognized and compensated for their work.

Think of it like this: if you created a cool artwork, you’d want to make sure that nobody else can just come along and start using it as their own without your permission, right? That’s where copyright comes in – it gives you the power to control who uses your work and how they use it.

And if someone does use your work without your permission, you can take legal action to protect your rights. So, in short, copyright is all about protecting the creative works of individuals and making sure they get the credit they deserve.

AI art does not have such automatic copyright protection as digital art has. A computer algorithm creates AI art, so it wasn’t created by a human mind even though a human generated the prompt.

A computer created the artwork, so it didn’t involve human imagination or craftsmanship.

Intellectual Property And AI Art

The problem lies in creating IP (intellectual property) with AI art as it’s not automatically copyright protected, which means ownership can’t be claimed on it.

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind (AI is not the human mind), such as inventions, literary and artistic works (artworks), symbols, and designs, that are legally protected. It’s important because it gives creators control over how their works are used and allows them to earn recognition and financial benefits from their creations.

Without protection for intellectual property, people might not be incentivized to create and innovate, as others could easily profit from their efforts without compensation. So, in short, intellectual property helps to promote creativity and innovation by providing a legal framework to protect the rights of creators.

In short, this means that others can easily use the effort made by AI artists without giving compensation to the artist.

FAQs About The Commercial Use Of AI Art

Are AI-generated images free for commercial use?

Yes. AI-generated images are free for commercial use. AI art does not have automatic copyright protection, and ownership can not be claimed. This means that anyone can use AI art that is found online for any purpose.

Who owns the rights to AI-generated art?

No one. AI is not a human being, and in U.S. copyright law, the author needs to be a human being. In a recent case where Steven Thaler tried to register a copyright claim for an AI-generated art, the Review Board of the United States Copyright Office denied the register with one of the arguments being:

U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE, COMPENDIUM OF U.S. COPYRIGHT OFFICE PRACTICES § 202.02(b) (2d ed. 1984) (“COMPENDIUM (SECOND)”) (“The term ‘authorship’ implies that, for a work to be copyrightable, it must owe its origin to a human being.“)



Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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