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Last update on January 17, 2023

Getty Images files lawsuit against creators of Stable Diffusion, Stability AI, for alleged copyright infringement

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Getty Images is suing Stability AI, creators of the popular AI art software Stable Diffusion, for alleged copyright infringement.

According to their press release, ”Getty Images commenced legal proceedings in the High Court of Justice in London against Stability AI, claiming Stability AI infringed intellectual property rights, including copyright in content owned or represented by Getty Images.“

Interestingly, Getty Images CEO Craig Peters said in an interview cited in The Verge's previous article that the company had issued a “letter before action” – a formal notice of impending litigation in the UK – to Stability AI. Read the full report here at The Verge, which includes some further insights.

The press release goes on to say: “It is Getty Images' position that Stability AI unlawfully copied and processed millions of images protected by copyright and the associated metadata owned or represented by Getty Images absent a license to benefit Stability AI's commercial interests and to the detriment of the content creators.”

Getty Images specifically mentions in its press release that they are not opposed to artificial intelligence, and agree with its potential to stimulate creative endeavors. In October 2022, they even announced a partnership, which I covered here at Stock Photo Secrets with BRIA to develop new AI photo tools. But they clearly want a system where creators and agencies are paid by anyone who trains an AI with their intellectual property. They point out that Stability AI did not seek such a license from Getty Images and ignored other viable licensing options.

It will be very interesting to see how Stability AI and its product, Stable Diffusion react to this allegation. As well as how other generative AI companies will proceed afterward. The outcome could define a new chapter in the generative AI industry, with clear definitions of how creators and stock agencies, and other content websites should be paid when images or creative content has been used to train an AI.

Other stock agencies, such as Shutterstock, have set up a creator fund to compensate contributors for the use of their images in AI training with LG or even Meta and have developed their own AI image generation tool with OpenAI. Many stock agencies have started to accept AI-generated images from contributors, including Adobe Stock, Dreamstime, and PantherMedia.

What are your thoughts on this news, and how do you expect the generative AI industry to react? Will this start a new phase of ethically trained AI tools?

Image Copyright by stockphotos.com


Amos Struck

All About Amos

As an ICT expert with over 20 years of experience, I have worked on a number of projects also involving AI technology. I have been writing about image technology related to design and photography since 2006, and have gained a reputation as an expert in the stock photo industry.

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AI Secrets is a platform for tech decision-makers to learn about AI technology. Our team includes experts such as Amos Struck (20+ yrs ICT, Stock Photo, AI), Ivanna Attie (expert in digital comms, design, stock media), and more who share their views on AI.

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