Fearing copyright issues, Getty Images bans AI-generated artwork

A selection of static diffusion images with strike-outs through them.
in great shape , A selection of static spread images with strikeouts through them.

Ars Technica

Getty Images has banned the sale of AI generative artwork created using image synthesis models such as Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2 and Midjourney through its service. The Verge reports,

The Verge spoke to Getty Images CEO Craig Peters to clarify the new policy. “There are genuine concerns regarding the copyright of the output from these models and there are unresolved rights issues with respect to the imagery, image metadata and the individuals contained within the imagery,” Peters told the publication.

Getty Images is a large repository of stock and archival photographs and illustrations, often used by publications (such as Ars Technica) to illustrate articles after paying a license fee.

getty’s trick thus Image synthesis was banned by smaller art community sites earlier this month after it was found that their sites were loaded with AI-generated works, jeopardizing artwork created without the use of those tools. Getty Images Competitor Shutterstock allows for AI-generated artwork on its site (and though Vice recently reported The site was removing AI artwork, we’re still seeing the same amount as before—and Shutterstock’s content submission conditions haven’t changed).

A notice from Getty Images and iStock about the ban
in great shape , A notice from Getty Images and iStock regarding the ban on “AI Generated Content”.

Getty Images

The ability to copyright AI-generated artwork has not been tested in court, and the ethics of using artists’ work without consent (including artwork) found it at Getty Images) to train neural networks that can create nearly human-scale artwork an open question There is an online debate. In order to protect the company’s brand and its customers, Getty decided to avoid this issue altogether with its ban. That said, Ars Technica searched the Getty Images library and found AI-generated artwork.

Can AI Artwork Be Copyrighted?

While the creators of the popular AI image synthesis model insist that their products create works protected by copyright, the issue of copyright over AI-generated images is not yet fully resolved. It is worth pointing out that a frequently cited articles The title “US Copyright Office Rules AI Art Can’t Be Copyrighted” in the Smithsonian is misunderstood and often misunderstood. In that case, a researcher attempted to register the AI ​​algorithm as a non-human owner of the copyright, which was denied by the Copyright Office. The copyright owner must be a human (or in the case of a corporation a group of humans).

Currently, AI image synthesis firms operate under the assumption that copyright for AI artwork can be registered to a human or corporation, just as it would with the output of any other artistic device. There is some strong precedent for this, and the Copyright Office 2022 verdict Rejecting the Registry of Copyrights of AI (as noted above), it made reference to a landmark 1884 legal case that confirmed the copyright status of photographs.

Early in the history of the camera, the defendant in the case (Buro-Giles Lithographic Company vs. Saroni, claimed that the photographs could not be copyrighted because a photograph is “a reproduction on paper of the exact characteristics of a natural object or a person.” In fact, he argued that a picture is the work of a machine and not a creative expression. Instead, the court ruled that the photographs could be copyrighted because they are “representative of original intellectual concepts”. [an] Author.”

Those familiar with the AI ​​generative art process, at least in relation to text-to-image generators, will recognize that their image synthesis outputs are “representative of basic intellectual concepts” [an] author” as well. Despite misconceptions to the contrary, human creative input and guidance is still necessary to make image synthesis work, no matter how small the contribution. Even the selection of equipment and the The decision to execute it is also a creative act.

Under US copyright law, randomly pressing the camera’s shutter button while pointing it at a wall still assigns copyright For the human taking the picture, and yet in an image synthesis artwork the human creative input can be much broader. So it makes sense that the person who commissioned the AI-generated work holds the copyright to the image, unless otherwise prohibited by the license or terms of use.

All that said, the question of copyright over AI artwork in the United States has yet to be legally resolved in one way or another. Stay tuned for further developments.

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