Now artists sue AI image generation tools Stable Diffusion, Midjourney over copyright (2023)

Now artists sue AI image generation tools Stable Diffusion, Midjourney over copyright (1)Stable Diffusion is a deep learning, text-to-image model released last year (Express photo)

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Now artists sue AI image generation tools Stable Diffusion, Midjourney over copyright




(Video) Lawyer Explains Stable Diffusion Lawsuit (Major Implications!)

Stability AI and Midjourney, the companies behind AI image tools Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, have been sued for allegedly violating the “rights of millions of artists” by using millions of copy­righted images with “no con­sent, no credit, and no com­pen­sa­tion.” The defendants also include DeviantArt, which recently launched DreamUp, a paid generative AI tool built around Sta­ble Dif­fu­sion. The plaintiffs are three artists – Sarah Andersen, Kelly McK­er­nan, and Karla Ortiz – whose work has allegedly been used to train these AI tools.

Ander­sen is the creator of the popular semi-auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal comic strip Sarah’s Scrib­bles, McK­er­nan is an inde­pen­dent artist who creates water­color and gouache paint­ings for gal­leries, and Ortiz is a concept artist whose work has been show­cased in notable art gal­leries.

The lawsuit alleges that these companies through the use of their products, “benefit commercially and profit richly from the use of copyrighted images.” The plaintiffs seek to “end this blatant and enormous infringement of their rights before their professions are eliminated by a computer program powered entirely by their hard work.”

The suit has been filed by Matthew Butterick who earlier also helped file a lawsuit against GitHub Copi­lot for its “unprece­dented open-source soft­ware piracy.” The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial and damage recovery, although the amount hasn’t been specified.

A blog has been put up, describing the litigation. The blog calls Sta­ble Dif­fu­sion “a par­a­site that, if allowed to pro­lif­er­ate, will cause irrepara­ble harm to artists, now and in the future.” It also tries to describe how diffusion – the process used by AI image tools to generate new images – works similarly to compression formats MP3 and JPEG, which rely on lossy compression.

“Dif­fu­sion is a way for an AI pro­gram to fig­ure out how to recon­struct a copy of the train­ing data through denois­ing. Because this is so, in copy­right terms it’s no dif­fer­ent than an MP3 or JPEG—a way of stor­ing a com­pressed copy of cer­tain dig­i­tal data,” the blog reads.

While the lawsuit doesn’t specify any amount in damages, the blog suggests that since Sta­ble Dif­fu­sion con­tains unau­tho­rized copies of mil­lions of images, the value of the misappropriation could be around $5 billion. The figure was arrived at by assuming nominal damages of $1 per image.

(Video) Lawsuit against Stable Diffusion, Midjourney and Deviant Art - Breaking News


While proving that AI image generators are copyright infringement can be tricky, the wider ethical concerns around the technology are harder still to substantiate. It’s a hotly debated topic. On one hand, the technology has the potential to replace the professions of many artists, while on the other, it can be used by artists themselves to better express their ideas and story.

Stable Diffusion is currently facing another lawsuit filed by visual media company Getty Images, which has accused the AI tool of copyright violations. The suit alleges that Stability AI “unlawfully copied and processed” millions of images that were protected by copyright.

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First published on: 18-01-2023 at 14:17 IST

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(Video) Why Artists are Fed Up with AI Art.


Now artists sue AI image generation tools Stable Diffusion, Midjourney over copyright? ›

Yes, Midjourney images can be used commercially by paying members, allowing for use in marketing and cover art. However, the license does not grant copyright ownership of the images.

Are Midjourney images copyrighted? ›

Yes, Midjourney images can be used commercially by paying members, allowing for use in marketing and cover art. However, the license does not grant copyright ownership of the images.

Can I use AI generated images without copyright? ›

Getty Images Bans AI-Generated Images Due To Copyright Worries. Since companies like OpenAI and StabilityAI began releasing AI-enabled text and image generators in late 2022 and early this year, requests to copyright works with AI have increased dramatically.

Are images from Midjourney free to use? ›

Midjourney AI art generator can create realistic images and much more. However, the tool is not free to use, but new users have access to a limited free trial—or at least they did.

What is the legal action against Midjourney? ›

In January, a group of artists filed a class-action lawsuit against Midjourney and other artbot creators for copyright violations after it allegedly used their art as part of the raw material for its bots.

Can I use Midjourney generated images commercially? ›

From my understanding you can use Midjourney images commercially if you generate them while having a paid license. If you do not have a paid license when generating them, you are violating their Terms of Service.

Can I sell art made with Midjourney? ›

If you're using Midjourney for free or a trial account, you can use the images for personal use only and must give credit to Midjourney. You aren't allowed to sell the generated images or make money off them. But if you have a paid account, you can use the images however you want, including commercially.

Do I own my AI-generated images? ›

Any images that are produced by giving a text prompt to current generative AI models, such as Midjourney or Stable Diffusion , cannot be copyrighted in the US. That's according to the US Copyright Office (USCO), which has equated such prompts to a buyer giving directions to a commissioned artist.

Is Stable Diffusion legal? ›

Yes, using Stable Diffusion AI for commercial purposes is legal as long as you have the necessary permissions and licenses.

Is it okay to use AI-generated art? ›

If You Must Use AI Art on Products, Be Extra Careful

While it's not a good idea to have an AI-generated image marketing your brand, there's nothing really stopping you at the time of writing. That said, there are steps you can take to avoid serious backlash.

Is Midjourney better than Stable Diffusion? ›

Which one is better? The main difference between Midjourney and Stable Diffusion is that Midjourney produces much higher quality and more realistic images, while Stable Diffusion is open-source and free.

Does Midjourney use Stable Diffusion? ›

Midjourney's models are limited in comparisons.

They offer v1 to v5 models, plus a few special models like niji, test, testp and HD. There is an additional parameter you can “stylize” the image. But the overall offerings dwarf Stable Diffusion.

Can anyone use Midjourney? ›

The first thing you will need is a Discord account – you can download and use the dedicated app or simply do it via your web browser. That means you can use Midjourney on most devices running Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, or Android. Once you are on Discord, join the Midjourney server.

Is Midjourney ethical? ›

But Midjourney has come under criticism for creating an “an ethical and copyright black hole.” In fact, Midjourney is even being sued by artists for copyright infringement, because it “violated the rights of millions of artists” by training the AI on images without obtaining consent.

Is Midjourney safe to buy? ›

MidJourney AI is a safe AI tool to use for generating art. The website has implemented security measures to protect user data and prevent unauthorized access. They use encryption to protect user data, and they have a privacy policy in place that outlines how user data is collected and used.

Can you use Midjourney for NSFW? ›

Some well-known AI art generators like Midjourney, stable diffusion and dalle 2 have NSFW content filter. However, there are still some creative ones which generate adult art and images as you wish.

Can you upload your own image to Midjourney? ›

Midjourney allows you to add images as part of a prompt by pasting in a URL. If you haven't already uploaded the image you want to use, you can add it to Discord using the + button in the message box, then drag it into the prompt to automatically add the URL.

Is it legal to sell AI-generated art on Etsy? ›

Does Etsy Allow Me to Sell AI Art? Currently, you can sell any art or designs created with the assistance of artificial intelligence on the Etsy platform as long as you have the right to use that image.

Can I sell art from Midjourney on Etsy? ›

Step 2: Use Midjourney to create the art

We can use Midjourney to create stunning graphics that can be sold as Clip Art on Etsy. If you don't know how to use Midjourney, then check out this Midjourney guide.

Can you make money with Midjourney? ›

Midjourney is not only a great way to make money, but it also gives you a chance to learn new skills and experience. You can improve your skills and knowledge by working on a variety of projects and with clients from different backgrounds. This, thusly, can prompt more open doors and more lucrative gigs later on.

Does AI art violate copyright? ›

If someone produces an image of a trademarked character using AI, this would violate copyright, but as they themselves did not produce the image it seems incredibly unlikely that they would be taken to court over the matter.

Can stable diffusion images be used commercially? ›

Can I use Stable Diffusion for commercial use? In short, yes. Stability AI has released Stable Diffusion under a permissive license. This means users can use the model to generate images for commercial and non-commercial purposes, keeping to Stability AI's policy for commercial use, of course.

What is the controversy with AI-generated images? ›

AI-generated images breach copyright law, artists say Artificial intelligence has advanced enough to create a seemingly original artwork in the style of living artists within minutes. Some artists argue that these AI models breach copyright law.

Who owns Stable Diffusion images? ›

Stability AI owns the Stable Diffusion model.

Is Stable Diffusion stealing images? ›

The lawsuit, announced on Saturday, claims that the Stable Diffusion tool used by Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Midjourney was trained on billions of copyrighted images scraped from the internet and contained within the LAION-5B dataset, which were downloaded and used by the companies “without compensation or consent ...

What company is behind Stable Diffusion? ›

Stability AI, a startup that's made a huge name for itself by helping develop the incredibly popular open-source image generator called Stable Diffusion, is in serious trouble, Semafor reports, burning through cash at an alarming rate without a clear path to profitability.

Why are artists against AI-generated art? ›

AI art appears to be a particular threat to digital artists. Part of this is because these creators tend to produce large bodies of content, meaning that datasets will have access to huge amounts of information on their style.

Are there any ethical AI art generators? ›

Unlike other AI art models such as Stable Diffusion and DALL-E, Adobe says its Firefly engine, which can generate new images from text descriptions, has been trained solely on legal and ethical sources, making its output clear for use by commercial artists.

Does AI-generated art count as art? ›

Artificial art lacks its own intrinsic psychic meaning to the agent. AI agents are not creating art; rather, they are replicating art. For example, the CAN agents were trained on tens of thousands of original artworks created by humans.

Is Stable Diffusion the best AI art generator? ›

One of the most popular text-to-art AI generators right now, Stable Diffusion, is an open-source AI art generator that takes text prompts and outputs images in mere seconds.

Which is better than Midjourney? ›

Other important factors to consider when researching alternatives to Midjourney include ease of use and reliability. We have compiled a list of solutions that reviewers voted as the best overall alternatives and competitors to Midjourney, including Writesonic, Jasper, Anyword, and Synthesia.

Is Stable Diffusion as good as Dall E? ›

Stable Diffusion is more powerful

For all its ease of use, DALL·E 2 doesn't give you a lot of options. You can generate images from a prompt, and…that's kind of it. If you don't like the results, you have to tweak the prompt and try again.

Can you outpaint with Stable Diffusion? ›

Go to Stable Diffusion Mat Outpainting to use MAT. The GUI only allows you to generate a square image. You can generate a larger square image and crop it to landscape size. Scale is the scaling applied on the uploaded image before outpainting.

Is Midjourney better than Dalle 2? ›

It's difficult to say whether Midjourney or DALL-E 2 is better, as both are highly skilled models that can produce some impressive results in the field of art and design. Midjourney can be accessed via Discord, whereas DALL-E 2 is only available via OpenAI's website.

Is Stable Diffusion free? ›

Stable Diffusion offers both free and paid versions of its software.

Does Midjourney use other people's art? ›

Comprehensive research has proved that pictures created from Midjourney were utilized from other pictures made by artists.

Where does Midjourney get its images from? ›

Midjourney generates images from natural language descriptions, called "prompts", similar to OpenAI's DALL-E and Stable Diffusion. A "mechanical dove" created with the latest iteration of Midjourney's algorithm. Midjourney, Inc. The tool is currently in open beta, which it entered on July 12, 2022.

What is the Midjourney controversy? ›

Midjourney, the controversial image generating AI, has stopped free trials after it says it was “abused”. The change comes after a range of high-profile fake images were created using the tool, including pictures of Donald Trump being arrested and the Pope wearing a stylish jacket.

Who owns copyright on AI generated art? ›

AI art cannot be copyrighted. The question of who owns art created by AI is a complex and controversial issue. While AI is responsible for generating the artwork, it is ultimately the human creators who programmed and trained the AI algorithms.

Is AI generated art theft? ›

Ultimately, to say AI art is theft just isn't true. AI art-making models are a tool and it is within the hands of the user to either use them ethically or unethically. These AI art-generating models are not directly stealing other's artwork or images to create their own, they just use them to learn.

How much does Midjourney cost per image? ›

Midjourney Price Per Image

The price per high-quality image is 6 to 10 cents since these generations consume twice the amount of fast hours. We calculated this figure based on the assumption that one fast hour yields 60 images.

What is the limit on Midjourney? ›

The Midjourney free trial provides you with 25 free images to generate. In order to create a Midjourney trial, you must create or log into a Discord account. While the free trial consists of 25 images, you actually get 100 images because Midjourney generates jobs in a 4-image grid.

Can you use AI generated art for book covers? ›

AI art generators allow anyone to become a designer, which is important if you are new to book cover art. By putting your visions and thoughts into text format, you can use state-of-the-art technology to create various potential designs for the book cover.

How do I unlock NSFW Subreddits? ›

Select “User Settings” from the dropdown menu. Go to the “Privacy & Security” section. Scroll down to the “NSFW Content” section. Toggle the switch next to “Allow NSFW Content” to turn it on.

Is Midjourney open source? ›

Openjourney is an open source Stable Diffusion fine tuned model on Midjourney images, by PromptHero.

Is Midjourney trained on copyrighted art? ›

Midjourney uses billions of copyrighted pictures

It was trained on billions of copyrighted images contained in the LAION-5B dataset, which were downloaded and used without compensation or consent from the artists.

Is Midjourney free for commercial use? ›

Art created with a free trial account has a Commons Noncommercial 4.0 Attribution International License. So you can use images if you do not make money off of them, and you credit Midjourney. If you pay for an account, you can use your art as you wish. This includes selling them.

Who owns the copyright of Midjourney art? ›

Who owns the copyright from an ai-generated art on Midjourney? Midjourney owns the full right to all images generated on its discord platform. It can create unique and beautiful images but also generate infringing images because the original images are not attributed.

Who owns art made by Midjourney? ›

However, you don't own the images you find on Google, but you do own what you generated on Midjourney. Midjourney works in much the same way as Google, but rather than develop a database of websites, it has developed a database of millions of artists' work. It then uses that database to teach its algorithms.

Is Stable Diffusion illegal? ›

Is It Legal to Use Stable Diffusion AI for Commercial Purposes? Yes, using Stable Diffusion AI for commercial purposes is legal as long as you have the necessary permissions and licenses.

Is AI-generated art legal? ›

Can AI Art Be Copyrighted? It has long been the posture of the U.S. Copyright Office that there is no copyright protection for works created by non-humans, including machines. Therefore, the product of a generative AI model cannot be copyrighted.

Does Stable Diffusion steal art? ›

The lawsuit, announced on Saturday, claims that the Stable Diffusion tool used by Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Midjourney was trained on billions of copyrighted images scraped from the internet and contained within the LAION-5B dataset, which were downloaded and used by the companies “without compensation or consent ...

Can I sell AI-generated art on Etsy? ›

Does Etsy Allow Me to Sell AI Art? Currently, you can sell any art or designs created with the assistance of artificial intelligence on the Etsy platform as long as you have the right to use that image.

Can you use Stable Diffusion commercially? ›

Is Stable Diffusion free for commercial use? Stable Diffusion from Stability AI comes with a permissive license, allowing users to create images for both commercial and non-commercial use as long as the user adheres to Stability AI's policies on commercial usage.

Can I use AI-generated art commercially? ›

Yes. AI-generated images are free for commercial use. AI art does not have automatic copyright protection, and ownership can not be claimed. This means that anyone can use AI art that is found online for any purpose.

Does AI break copyright? ›

AI programs might also infringe copyright by generating outputs that resemble existing works. Under U.S. case law, copyright owners may be able to show that such outputs infringe their copyrights if the AI program both (1) had access to their works and (2) created “substantially similar” outputs.

Can AI infringe copyright? ›

The AI platforms recover patterns and relationships, which they then use to create rules, and then make judgments and predictions, when responding to a prompt. This process comes with legal risks, including intellectual property infringement.

Is AI comic art copyright revoked after office learns how AI works? ›

On Tuesday, the US Copyright Office declared that images created using the AI-powered Midjourney image generator for the comic book Zarya of the Dawn should not have been granted copyright protection, and the images' copyright protection will be revoked.

What artists are against Midjourney? ›

A group of San Francisco artists, including cartoonist Sarah Andersen and illustrator Karla Ortiz, are taking legal action to reclaim copyright and consent by filing a class-action lawsuit against DreamUp, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion.

What is the controversy with AI art generators? ›

Another day, another AI art controversy. Concerns over ethical issues surrounding originality and copyright have followed the tech around since day one, and are showing no signs of abating. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, new research has just proven that, yes, AI art generators reproduce copyrighted imagery.


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