How to Encrypt Hidden Copyright Data into Your AI-Rendered Artwork

Using hidden watermarks to prove authorship

John Iovine

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Robot Portrait — Image rendered by author

The explosion of AI-rendered artwork has brought many copyright issues to the forefront. My previous article explained how to register the copyright of your AI-rendered artwork with the USPTO.

Remember, as you create artwork and render it in tangible form, you already own the copyright automatically. However, you may not want to incur the expense of registering your artwork with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); then, this article is for you.

Image & Artwork Confusion

I would venture to say many AI-rendered artworks have a similar look. One face is so commonly rendered on Midjourney that it is known as the “Miss Journey.” When rendered art begins or has a streak of commonality, a question of authorship may arise. One way to distinguish your artwork from another person’s artwork is by using a watermark. Visible watermarking can easily be removed or cropped. But there is invisible watermarking resistant to cropping and mild image alterations that can prove your ownership of the image. Suppose you find a picture with your watermark being used without permission. In that case, you have the justification to contact the infringer to ask for the removal of the image, acknowledgment, license fee, or any combination thereof.

Watermarking is an affordable way of helping to prove your authorship and rights to your artwork. The simple system I will outline and use is not a hardened encryption algorithm, nor is it tamper-proof. It can be defeated. If you need hardened data encryption software, that is not this package. What you need will be more expensive.

Hidden Data

Many text-to-art AIs encrypted data in their rendered images. Not all, but from my informal tests, about 50%.

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John Iovine

Science writer, thinker, self-experimenter, focusing on personal development and health — www.john-iovine.com