Does AI rendering violate copyright? Getty thinks so

Stable Diffusion sample image (Stability AI)

Stable Diffusion sample image (Stability AI)

Stock photography and image provider Getty Images said it is “taking legal action” against Stability AI, which makes text-to-image software Stable Diffusion.

This tool can create digital images from any text prompt – anything you want, such as “man wearing a cheese hat” or “Lake Garda in the moonlight”.

Getty Images claims that Stability AI “infringes on intellectual property rights, including copyright,” by using the image database to train the AI.

Representing the breadth of content that goes into creating the kind of AI image rendering software you might have come across on social media lately, Stability AI “illegally copied and processed millions of images,” he says.

According to Getty Images, these legal proceedings were taken to the “High Court of Justice in London”.

Getty Images CEO Craig Peters said in an interview with The Verge that the company sent “a letter before we act” to Stability AI to let them know that legal action has begun.

However, we contacted Stability AI and a spokesperson told us, “We are still awaiting the notification of any documents. If we receive them, we will comment accordingly.

“Please know that we take these matters seriously. It is unusual for us to be informed of this planned legal action through the press,” they said.

How does AI rendering work?

This type of rendering AI is fed by massive amounts of images and their associated metadata, which are tags that can tell you what the photo is, where and when it was taken.

“We don’t believe this particular deployment of Stability’s commercial offering falls under fair trade in the UK or fair use in the US,” says Getty CEO Peters in an interview with The Verge.

The viral spread of these image creation tools has understandably caused unease among artists and photographers. While this software is partially created using their work, it can put them out of business.

However, Getty Images’ argument is not against this notion of productive artificial intelligence. He says they have “the potential to foster creative endeavors.”

The problem is that Stability AI did not buy licenses from other tech companies with the explicit purpose of training AIs. Getty Images says it provides such licenses to “leading technology inventors.”

Getty Images has a US headquarters in Seattle, but it’s not yet clear whether the company plans to begin operations outside of the UK as well.

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