Three artists have filed a lawsuit against Stability AI, Midjourney, the companies behind artificial intelligence art generators Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, and DeviantArt, who just introduced their own AI art generator called DreamUp.
The three artists Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan and Karla Ortiz claim that these companies have violated the rights of “millions of artists” by training their AI tools on five billion images created “without the consent of the original artists” from the Internet were scraped. ”
Attorney and typographer Matthew Butterick and the law firm Joseph Saveri, which specializes in antitrust and class actions, filed the lawsuit. Butterick and Saveri are currently suing Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI in a related lawsuit over the CoPilot AI programming model, which is built using lines of code collected from the Internet.
In a blog post announcing the lawsuit, Butterick describes the case as “another step in making AI fair and ethical for all.” According to him, the ability of AI art tools like Stable Diffusion to “flood the market with an essentially unlimited number of infringing images will cause lasting damage to the art and artist market” causing that damage.
The art world has responded aggressively to the rise in popularity of AI art tools over the past year. While some claim that these tools, like previous versions of software like Photoshop and Illustrator, could be useful, many others oppose the exploitation of their work to train these lucrative algorithms. Millions of photos from around the web are used to train AI generative art models, usually without the author’s knowledge or consent. Then you can use AI art generators to create artworks that mimic a specific artist’s style.
Whether or not these technologies infringe copyright is a complex issue that experts say needs to be resolved in court. The main defense of AI art tool developers is that the fair use concept covers training that software with copyrighted data.
But there are various complexities when it comes to AI art generators, and fair use issues have yet to be addressed. This includes the locations of the organizations that developed these tools, as the legal framework for data scraping differs significantly in the EU and the US, and the goals of these organizations. Stable Diffusion, for example, is trained on the LAION dataset, which is produced by a Germany-based non-profit research organization, and non-profit organizations can be given more preferential treatment in fair use cases than normal companies.
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