Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems have been revolutionizing the way we create images, with the help of smartphone apps trained on vast collections of digitized artworks. However, this technology has led to legal action from artists and photographers who accuse these AI image-generating services of copying and processing millions of copyright-protected images without a license.
One of the most notable lawsuits was filed by Seattle-based photography giant Getty Images against Stability AI, the maker of Stable Diffusion, for infringing intellectual property rights. This lawsuit alleges that these AI image-generators are violating the rights of millions of artists by acting as 21st-century collage tools.
Until now, creating an image “in the style” of a particular artist would require commissioning or licensing an original image from the artist. AI-generated images, however, are able to “compare in the marketplace with the original images.”
Image-generating companies typically charge users a subscription fee, making it easier for users to access this technology. However, this has led to concerns about the propensities of AI tools to propagate misinformation or harm. AI image generators have the potential to create sexual images without consent and the photorealistic images generated by the AI can be difficult to distinguish from real images.
Experts fear that it’s only a matter of time before people use these tools to spread disinformation and further erode public trust, even though many have some safeguards in place to block offensive or harmful content. As a result, these lawsuits raise important questions about the implications of AI-generated images and the need for regulations to govern this technology.
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