Should human artists get paid when AI uses their work for learning?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2023 | Copyright Law |

AI system DALL-E 2, Microsoft Image Creator and others enable users to create realistic images and visual art. The user enters a series of prompts and then gets an image. OpenAI, which also made Chat-GPT, created the system. The art generator can create new works based on the prompts or edit physical artwork. The user need not have any art skills to obtain quick results. The user can also easily change the prompts to alter the image. The system uses current art to help it distinguish between styles and techniques.

There are concerns over the use of art to train the AI system. AI’s usage of preexisting art sparked discussions about human creativity and art and how artificial intelligence uses it. It also raises serious questions about the reach of copyright law, ownership, and authorship.

Potential lawsuit gets refined

U.S. District Judge William Orrick told plaintiffs on July 19 that he will likely dismiss a proposed class action that is one of several recent lawsuits filed against AI companies, telling them they need to develop stronger arguments in a new complaint. The complaint about the initial complaint was that it was overly broad and light on facts. Their lawsuit claimed Stable Diffusion is simply a complex collage tool where all AI image creators violate the rights of millions of artists by using the same basic process to absorb the information.

The new complaint must provide more facts about how Stability AI, Midjourney and DeviantArt infringe upon copyrights. Stable Diffusion and other systems “scraped” an estimated 5 billion compressed images off the internet to “learn” how to create text-to-image content as prompted by users. The judge further pointed out that it was unclear whether the claimants accused Midjourney and DeviantArt (which use Stable Diffusion tech) of violating copyrights by using Stability as a model or that Stability infringed for using the images.

The judge also warned claimants that there would be no grounds for a lawsuit if the images created by AI were not substantially similar to the preexisting work.

Kelly McKernan, Karla Ortiz and Sarah Anderson were the initial claimants. Still, illustrator Anderson’s case will likely stand because Stability clearly infringed upon registered copyrights in several of her works.

Watch this space as this issue evolves in the courts.