Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Finance and Commercial Law

First Advisor

Norman Hawker

Second Advisor

Timothy Eagle

Third Advisor

Mark Hurwitz


The purpose of this research paper is to examine whether or not the fair use doctrine, a pivotal piece of copyright law, is a viable argument on behalf of generative artificial intelligence companies that are currently being sued on the basis of accused infringement of copyrighted images that their programs are trained on. By examining whether or not fair use is viable, generative artificial intelligence companies will be able to better gauge the validity of their arguments as well as adjust their practices accordingly if needed. This research is necessary because this research is examining a new field of law that has little to no regulation currently, and it attempts to set a basis to begin to guide generative artificial companies as to how to approach important legal issues that they are facing and will continue to face. The question, “Is the Fair Use Doctrine a viable argument for Generative AI?”, led this research. To examine whether or not fair use is a viable defense, several entities were examined: 1) the history of the fair use doctrine; 2) the history and current state of generative artificial intelligence; 3) OpenAI’s terms of use; and 4) important cases to consider involving intellectual property and artificial intelligence. The research found that 1) the fair use doctrine is a viable defense only to the extent by which the facts of each individual case adhere to the four factors of the fair use doctrine; and 2) previous court findings are currently applicable only to the facts of those cases themselves and not far beyond that measure. Essentially, these findings suggest that the validity of the fair use defense is contingent on each individual factor, and that there are going to be tendencies for the defense to work or not based on certain approaches to each factor. The limitations of this research include that generative artificial intelligence is an ever-growing field that is constantly evolving along with the changing legal approach to this field. Thus, this research should be given merit only to the extent by which the current information is available, that being, as of late 2023. These limitations are outweighed by the strengths, including that this research provides a detailed start as to how to tackle these constantly evolving fields.


Additional Advisor: Colleen Stano

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Thesis Presentation.pdf (2432 kB)
Defense Presentation