Some well-known generative AIs have been sued for copyright infringement.
Stability.ai and Midjourney have been sued by three artists. Their thesis: Generative AI is based on systematic copyright infringement.
Three artists are suing Stability.ai and Midjourney, two popular generative AIs. Both allow illustrations to be created from simple input, but the dispute is over the originality of the works in question.
To work, these artificial intelligences use a neural network model trained through huge archives of artwork and illustrations by real artists. As we explained in our special, there are many people who dispute the idea that an AI can create (or rather, invent) an original work.
There are two issues: the first is that it is not possible to create generative AI without using datasets with millions of works of artand that these datasets are (almost) always composed by taking images from the web, using tools that automate the process, without the consent of the artists. The second is that the creations of the AIs are essentially a rehash of what the AIs have ‘learned’ by studying these datasets. When we ask an AI to draw a woman, the AI will simply replicate what it has learned from its datasets, which however contain millions of real drawings. So the hair will be generated by adding up thousands of styles by as many real artists. Now, this ‘inspiration’ (so to speak) should be interpreted as a copyright infringement, pure plagiarism, or else we must assume that when the result of the work of the AI is the sum of so many artists we can actually speak of a original creation? After all,
It is evident that we are faced with an extremely slippery terrain and that in the absence of certain rules, which do not exist today, or even only of a consolidated jurisprudence on the basis of current law (also absent) it becomes difficult to understand what the limitations of these tools.
In addition to suing Stability.ai and Midjourney, the three artists are also suing DevianArt, a popular platform for sharing artworks. DevianArt is accused of having “betrayed the community of artists”, since – this is the accusation – it would have facilitated the theft of its users’ drawings.
The three artists may not necessarily get what they’re looking for, which is legal acknowledgment that AI-created works like Stability.ai and Midjourney are based on systematic copyright infringement. Moreover, as the Techno Lama website explains, the class action seems to rest on unstable ground, since it is based on an erroneous and fallacious interpretation of the true functioning of the technologies in question.