Getty Images sues Stability AI for alleged copyright violation in AI art software

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  • 22 Jan 2023 @ 10:35
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The legal battle between generative AI firms and content creators is escalating as Getty Images, one of the largest stock photo companies, is suing the creators of the popular AI art software Stable Diffusion for alleged copyright violations. Getty Images says that the company used millions of images from its site without permission to train its software. Getty Images has issued a "letter before action" –  formal notification of impending litigation in the UK.

This lawsuit is the latest step in a long-running legal battle between AI companies and content creators over credit, money, and the future of the creative industries. AI art software like Stable Diffusion use images made by people as training data. Companies scrape these images from the internet, often without the creators' knowledge or permission. AI firms claim that this practice is covered by laws like the US fair use doctrine, but many rights holders disagree, stating that it constitutes a copyright violation.

It's worth noting that legal experts are divided on the issue and that these questions will have to be decided for certain in the courts. Getty Images CEO Craig Peters compares the current legal landscape in the generative AI scene to the early days of digital music, where companies like Napster offered popular but illegal services before new deals were struck with license holders like music labels.

Although the creators of some AI image software (like OpenAI) refuse to disclose the data used to create their models, Stable Diffusion's training dataset is open source. An independent analysis of the dataset found that Getty Images and other stock image sites make up a big part of it. The tendency of AI software to recreate the company's watermark shows that Getty Images is present.

It's clear that many copyright questions are still open, and it will be exciting to see how this legal battle and the future of AI and copyright will unfold. While some companies like Stability AI have begun making concessions to content creators, it remains to be seen if this will be enough to address the intellectual property rights of others.

Source:  Getty Images (Press Release) / TheVerge

AI Disclaimer: The article was written in assistance with AI but verified and checked, modified, and approved by the author.
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