Today, the stock image company announced a legal action in the UK against AI tool developer Stability AI. They allege that the organization unlawfully duplicated and processed millions of images that Getty owns or represents, which are under copyright protection, along with the associated metadata. Getty also accuses Stability AI of scraping images from its library without purchasing a license or paying image creators.
Lawsuit Announced in the Press
Stability AI claimed that they were not directly informed of this lawsuit, but learned through press articles, stating that they take this copyright infringement accusation seriously. The company is awaiting legal documents before commenting further.
How AI Image Generators Work
Stable Diffusion, the tool in question, is popular for generating AI images from simple text prompts, generating unique images based on the provided text. The tool uses advanced artificial intelligence technology to learn what type of imagery to create, which it bases on enormous amounts of images that it researches on the internet and catalogs. This makes the tool more accurate over the course of time.
AI Image Generators and Intellectual Property
Other AI image-generating businesses that operate in the same way include NightCafe and DALL-E. Since the technology relies on artistic styles and images that are created by people, the question of intellectual property in these instances is a murky legal area. The rising popularity of these image-generation tools has increased the debate over how copyright laws address this issue.
How Copyright Law Views AI Images
Speaking to the copyright question for users exploring the tool to create generated images, the Stable Diffusion website explains that the subject of AI-generated images and the copyright law is complex and varies by jurisdiction. The company also maintains that images that are created by the system are open source and are therefore protected by the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. This states that anyone who associates a work with this designation labels the work as public domain and waives any global rights under existing copyright law.
AI-generated images are an emerging art form in the world of intellectual property and copyright law, with, as of yet, no concrete rules or guidelines.