In a lawsuit filed on February 3 and made public on Monday, Getty Images alleged that artificial intelligence company Stability AI, Inc., infringed on the visual media company’s intellectual property.
The suit, filed in a Delaware US District Court following a separate Getty lawsuit against Stability in the UK, accused the London-based generative AI company of copying more than 12 million photographs and associated captions and metadata without permission.
Protected Images Allegedly Used To Train Text-to-Image Tool
According to the filed document, Stability used Getty’s IP in violation of trademark law to train its Stable Diffusion model.
A latent text-to-image model used to generate photorealistic images based on text input, Stable Diffusion is viewed as a direct competitor for creative imagery by Getty.
Additionally, the suit alleges trademark-protected Getty IP was used as training data for the AI platform, and “its infringement of Getty Images’ content on a massive scale has been instrumental in its success to date.”
Getty has claimed that Stable Diffusion’s output often contained a modified version of a Getty Images watermark. Getty’s complaint states this usage, particularly in low-quality images, creates confusion about the image source and falsely implies an association.
IP Implications Of AI-Generated Art Still Unclear
This is not the first AI-based copyright infringement that has been filed. Last month, a trio of San Francisco-based artists, Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan, and Karla Ortiz, filed a suit against Stability AI and DeviantArt, alleging their platforms have infringed on the rights of artists with images scraped from the web.
“This latest lawsuit continues the debate and argument that OpenAI does not have the right to use or learn from publicly posted content, at least not without some sort of credit and compensation,” said Brent Csutoras, digital marketing expert and co-founder and managing partner at Alpha Brand Media, Search Engine Journal’s parent corporation.
The artists’ suit, which has not gone to trial yet, was the first to target generative AI copyright infringement – a murky legal area without established precedent.
“Artists have taken inspiration from others for as long as we can remember, but I think it is fair to say that there is a difference between what a human takes as inspiration in their own art, versus what an AI can do by taking inspiration from millions of publicly available art,” Csutoras said. “It is fair to argue that if they had to ask permission or could not have used that art, they would not have the quality tools they are making today.”
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