[Part I] AI-Generated Arts and Copyright: Thai Law Perspective

Created by Midjourney, with the following prompt: ‘a natural pool surrounded by wildflowers on the hills, morning sunlight, a little girl wearing a white dress painting near the pool, an orange cat playing around, serene spring, warm tone.’

In the age of artificial intelligence (AI), the boundaries of creativity are being redefined. People who have never once drawn or painted simple lines are now capable of creating sophisticated artworks with a text prompt describing anything they would like to create. Taking an image at the top as a reference, at first glance, it may look like a hundreds-hour-worth painting of a skilled painter; when in fact, it was only a few-minute-worth image generated by the famous AI generative tool, “Midjourney”. This, as many suggest, challenges the traditional notions of originality and authorship, which, in respect of copyright law, also raises questions in terms of its legal implications: Can AI-generated art be copyrighted? Who is the owner? And whether these kinds of works are legally obtained or infringe the rights of others.

Within the framework of Thai law, like many other jurisdictions, the answers to these questions are associated with nothing but ambiguity due to the lack of legal precedent or even an explicit statutory provision itself. This article will, therefore, examine how current Thai copyright law is expected to address artworks generated by AI and provide basic guidelines to its users. Part I will discuss the copyrightability of AI-generated arts, while Part II will explore the issues of authorship and infringement.

Nevertheless, it is important to note here that the ultimate interpretation of any relevant law still rests with future court rulings, and we will need to wait and see.

Can AI-Generated Arts be Copyrighted?

To kick-start our discussion, under the Thai Copyright Act B.E. 2537, there is no statutory provision expressly addressing AI-generated works. However, the general provision concerning copyrightable subject matter may be applied. At its most basic principle, Thai law requires that for any work to attract copyright protection, it must be the original work of authorship and fall within the categories specified by the law. Any artistic works, whether produced by humans or AIs, be it in the form of painting, drawing, or a configuration consisting of lines, lights, or colours, are recognised by Section 6 and Section 4 of the Copyright Act, and thus, ‘may’ qualify for copyright protection provided that they are ‘original’.

In general, when assessing whether a work meets such an originality threshold, the court often considers whether there is sufficient skill, labour, and judgment put into its creation, as well as whether the work originates from its author without copying other existing works (Supreme Court’s Judgment 11047/2551, 19305/ 2555, and 19350/2557). In traditional contexts, these criteria are relatively straightforward. The Thai Court tends to grant copyright protection to authors who demonstrate a degree of skill and labour in their work, even if such skill and labour are evident in only a few short paragraphs (Supreme Court’s Judgment 11047/2551). Nevertheless, complexities arise when the work in question is no longer the work of a human author but a mere machine.

Theoretically, copyright is awarded to the author as compensation for their labour, time, and effort invested in producing their work, and also as an incentive to encourage the creation and dissemination of valuable intellectual property. Therefore, the originality requirement is based on an anthropocentric perspective closely associated with the personhood of the authors, as only humans require those kinds of encouragements.

Copyright law in many jurisdictions, in this regard, although not expressly specified, recognised only the works created by human beings.

For instance:

  • In the United States, a selfie photograph taken by a female macaque has been denied copyright protection by the Court on the grounds that the US Copyright Law does not extend the concept of authorship to include animals (‘non-humans’) (Naruto v. Slater). More specifically, citing a case related directly to the AI-generated artwork, the US Federal District Court has recently denied protection of visual art generated by a ‘Creative Machine’, providing reasons of the same (Stephen Thaler v. Shira Perlmutter).
  • Similarly, in the EU, the CJEU has also taken the same stance. In the case of Infopaq Int’l A/S v. Danske Dagblades Forening and Painer v. Standard Verlags GmbH, the court interpreted the originality requirement to be the ‘author’s own intellectual creation’, upon which their ‘personal touch’ has been stamped, implying that the prerequisite for copyright is human authorship.

In respect of Thai Copyright Law, there is currently no court precedent or statutory provision specifically addressing the matter of AI-generated works. Nonetheless, it can be expected that Thai authorities may apply standards similar to those mentioned above. In an opinion given by the Thai Department of Intellectual Property (DIP), the Registrar has clearly stated that, following the practices of the US and the EU, copyright protection would not be granted to AI-generated works, as copyright protection is reserved solely for works originated from human authors (see DIP PODCAST.)

It is worth noting, however, that the Thai Court has yet to address this matter, and we must wait for its future rulings to see if it will affirm the DIP’s opinion.

Additionally, assuming that the originality threshold for copyright protection does indeed require human authorship, the AI-generated arts could still be entitled to copyright protection, if a human author has at least contributed some intellectual effort in its creation. Therefore, as suggested by the US Copyright Office, one way to obtain copyright protection for AI-generated artworks is to demonstrate the inclusion of human-authored materials in the end result. For example, users or programmers of the generative AIs may establish their contribution through arrangement or modifications made to the works. However, the copyright protection for the part contributed by the human author may be claimed separately from the part contributed solely by the AIs.

The Authors


Saowaluck Lamlert (APPLE)

Managing Partner


Tatchaporn Natprasertkul



Kolanya Borisuth




Journal Articles

Andres Guadamuz, ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Copyright?   in Jyh-An Lee, Reto M Hilty, and Kung-Chung Liu (ed), Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property (Oxford University Press 2021)

Kalin Hristov, ‘Artificial Intelligence and the Copyright Dilemma’ (2017) 57 IDEA 431

Patrick Zurth, ‘Artificial Creativity? A Case against Copyright Protection for AI-Generated Works’ (2021) 25 UCLA JL & Tech i

Zack Naqvi, ‘Artificial Intelligence, Copyright, and Copyright Infringement’ (2020) 24 Marq Intell Prop L Rev 15

Thomas margoni, ‘Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and EU Copyright Law: Who Owns AI?’ [2018] CREATe Working Paper


Aaron Hayward and Others, ‘The IP in AI: Does copyright protect AI-generated works?’ (HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS, 2023) <https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/insights/2023-05/the-ip-in-ai-does-copyright-protect-ai-generated-works> accessed 26 March 2024


Christopher T. Zirpoli, ‘Generative Artificial Intelligence and Copyright Law’ [2023] CRS Legal Sidebar Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress

DIP PODCAST <ผลงานที่ AI สร้างขึ้นมีลิขสิทธิ์ไหม ? – Dip Podcast EP1 (youtube.com)> accessed 26 March 2024