Three artists have filed a lawsuit against Stability AI and Midjourney, creators of the AI-powered art generators Stable Diffusion and Midjourney. The lawsuit also involves artist platform DeviantArt, which recently also created its own DreamUp generator.
Artists Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan and Carla Ortiz allege that these organizations violated the rights of millions of artists by training their artificial intelligence tools on five billion images taken from the Internet without the consent of the authors.
The lawsuit was filed by lawyer and typographer Matthew Butterick, along with the law firm of Joseph Savery, which specializes in antitrust cases and class actions. Butterick and Savery are currently suing Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI in a similar case involving the CoPilot AI programming model, which is trained on lines of code collected from the internet.
Butterick describes the case as “another step towards making AI fair and ethical for all.” He says that the ability of AI art tools like Stable Diffusion to “flood the market with a virtually unlimited number of infringing images will cause irreversible damage to the art and artist market.”
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As the popularity of AI tools has skyrocketed over the past year, the art community has responded strongly. While some say these tools can be useful, as have past generations of software such as Photoshop and Illustrators, many others object to using their work to teach these potentially highly lucrative systems.
Whether AI-based systems violate copyright law is a complex issue that experts say needs to be resolved in the courts. The creators of artistic AI tools commonly argue that training this software on copyrighted data falls (at least in the US) under the doctrine of fair use.
But fair use cases still need to be litigated, and there are many complicating factors when it comes to AI art generators. These include the location of the organizations behind these tools (since the EU and US have slightly different legal regulations for extracting data) and the purpose of these organizations.
For example, Stable Diffusion is trained on the LAION dataset, which is created by a German research non-profit organization, and in cases of fair use, non-profit organizations can be treated more favorably than ordinary companies.
The lawsuit, filed by Butterick and Joseph Savery’s law firm, has also been criticized for technical inaccuracies. For example, the lawsuit alleges that AI art models “store compressed copies of [защищенных авторским правом] training images” and then “recombine” them; functioning as a tool[ы] collage of the 21st century. However, artistic AI models generally do not store images, but mathematical representations of patterns assembled from these images. The software also does not assemble image fragments into a collage, but creates images from scratch based on these mathematical representations.
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Source: The Verge