Getty Images has announced a lawsuit against Stability AI, the company behind the popular art tool Stable Diffusion, alleging that the technology company committed copyright infringement.
Photography giant Stability AI has been accused of copying and processing millions of its images without the proper licensing, according to a press release issued Tuesday. London-based Stability AI announced that it raised $101 million in open-source AI technology funding 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 has provided licenses to leading technical innovators for the purposes of training artificial intelligence systems in a manner that respects personal and intellectual property rights. “Stability Amnesty International has not requested any such license from Getty Images, and instead, we believe, we have chosen to ignore applicable licensing options and long-term legal protections in pursuit of its own independent business interests.”
Getty declined to comment further on the lawsuit to CNN, but said it sought a response from the AI company before taking any action. stability
Please know that we take these matters very seriously. It is very unusual for us to be informed of this intended legal action via the press,” a spokesperson for the Stability AI organization told CNN. We are still waiting to serve any documentation. If we receive them, we will comment appropriately.”
Vendors of AI art and traditional media have struggled to coexist in recent months as computer-generated imagery has become more available and advanced, using human-made imagery and art as data training.
Once available only to a select group of tech insiders, text-to-image AI systems are becoming increasingly popular and powerful. These systems include Stable Diffusion and DALL-E from OpenAI.
Shutterstock, a competitor to Getty Images and its fellow Stock Image platform, announced plans in October to expand its partnership with OpenAI, the company behind DALL-E and the viral ChatGPT chatbot, promoting AI-generated content while launching a fund to compensate artists for their contributions.
These tools, which usually offer a few free credits before shipping, can create all kinds of images with just a few words, including ones that clearly evoke the work of many artists, if they don’t look like they made them. Users can call these artists words like “in style” or “by” along with a given name. Current uses for these tools can range from personal pastimes and hobbies to more commercial issues.
In just a matter of months, millions of people have flocked to the text-to-image artificial intelligence systems that are already being used to create experimental films, magazine covers, and photos to illustrate news stories. An image created using an artificial intelligence system called Midjourney recently won an art competition at the Colorado State Fair, causing an uproar among artists, who worry their art could be stolen by such systems without credit.
“I don’t want to be involved at all with a machine that will diminish what I do,” Daniel Danger, an illustrator and printmaker who learned a number of his works for his Stable Diffusion training, told CNN in October.
Stability AI founder and CEO Emad Mostaki told CNN Business in October via email that Art is a tiny fraction of the LAION training data behind Stable Diffusion. “Art constitutes far less than 0.1% of the data set and is only created when the user deliberately invokes it,” he said.