Getty Images sues makers of popular AI art tool for allegedly stealing photos | CNN Business
Getty Images announced a lawsuit against Stability AI, the company behind the popular AI art tool Stable Diffusion, alleging copyright infringement by the tech company.
The stock image giant accused Stability AI of copying and processing millions of its images without obtaining the proper license, according to a press release issued on Tuesday. London-based Stability AI announced it had raised $101 million in funding for open source AI technology in October and released version 2.1 of its Stable Diffusion tool in December.
“Getty Images believes that artificial intelligence has the potential to stimulate creative endeavors. Accordingly, Getty Images provided licenses to leading technological innovators for purposes related to training artificial intelligence systems in a that respects intellectual and personal property rights,” Getty wrote in the statement. “Stability AI did not seek any such license from Getty Images and instead, we believe, chose to ignore viable licensing options and long-standing legal protections in pursuit of its autonomous commercial interests.”
Getty declined to comment further on the lawsuit to CNN, but said it sought a response from the AI company before taking action. Stability AI did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
AI art and traditional media providers have struggled to co-exist in recent months as computer-generated imagery grows more available and advanced, using human-created images and art as data formation.
Once available only to a select group of tech experts, text-to-image AI systems are becoming increasingly popular and powerful. These systems include OpenAI’s Stable Diffusion and DALL-E.
Shutterstock, a Getty Images competitor and stock image platform, announced plans in October to expand its partnership with OpenAI, the company behind DALL-E and the viral chatbot AI ChatGPT, and improve AI-generated content while launching a fund to compensate artists for their contributions.
These tools, which usually offer some free credits before you charge, can create all kinds of images with just a few words, including ones that will clearly evoke the works of many, many artists, if not apparently created by them. Users can invoke these artists with words such as “in the style of” or “by” along with a specific name. Current uses for these tools can range from personal fun and hobbies to more commercial uses.
In just months, millions of people have flocked to text-to-image AI systems that are already being used to create experimental films, magazine covers, and images to illustrate news stories. An image generated with an AI system called Midjourney recently won an art contest at the Colorado State Fair, creating an uproar among artists, who are concerned that such systems could steal their art without their due credit
“I don’t want to participate at all in the machine that will cheapen what I do,” Daniel Danger, an illustrator and printmaker who learned some of his work was being used for training, told CNN in October in Stable Diffusion.
Stability AI founder and CEO Emad Mostaque told CNN Business in October via email that the art is a small fraction of the LAION training data behind Stable Diffusion. “Art represents much less than 0.1% of the data set and is only created when the user deliberately calls it,” he said.