Getty Images, out of concern for copyright concerns, banned the inclusion in its commercial database of AI-generated work last September.
Getty Images announced Tuesday that it is suing Stability AI, the creator of the AI art generator tool stable diffusion in London, for copyright violations.
Getty Images released a statement Tuesday stating that Stability AI had illegally copied and processed millions of images. The company stated that Getty Images granted licenses to top technology innovators to train artificial intelligence systems regarding intellectual and personal property rights. “Stability AI didn’t pursue any license from Getty Images. Instead, we believe they chose to ignore long-standing legal protections and viable licensing options to pursue their commercial interests.
The lawsuit details have not been released, but Craig Peters, CEO of Getty Images, told reporters that the charges include copyright violations and site TOS violations such as web scraping. Peters also explained that the company isn’t seeking monetary damages but rather a precedent for future litigation.
Stable Diffusion and Dall-E are not text-to-image generator tools. They don’t produce art; they create the same way people do. There is no imagination from where these ideas can come. Like other generative AI, these tools are trained to create the artwork they produce using large databases of annotated pictures. For example, imagine a huge database of hundreds of thousands of frog photos labeled “frog” that is used to teach a computer algorithm how a frog looks.
Why go to creating and annotating your database when so much online content is already available? Clearview and Voyager Labs, two AI companies, have been repeatedly and heavily fined for scraping images from the internet and social media sites.
A study done by an independent researcher last August found that Stable Diffusion likely pulled significant amounts of its data directly from Getty Images. This was partly because the art tool has a habit of recreating Getty watermarks.