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Last update on November 10, 2023

Shutterstock Introduced TRUST Ethical AI Framework

3 min read
Shutterstock Trust Framework
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The stock media heavyweight Shutterstock unveiled a new guiding framework for ethical AI development and customer protection, TRUST

This initiative embodies the agency’s historical core values and englobes the principles with which they approached AI development from the start of their involvement two years ago. 

The company hopes their guidelines help other brands and businesses interested in working with AI to do so in a legally safer and respectful way and to serve to shape the currently incipient legal frame for visual AI technology. 

Shutterstock TRUST: Ethical AI and Customer Protection

Shutterstock’s foundation guide for AI development, TRUST, was unveiled in the company’s latest Gen AI Showcase event but isn’t entirely new. It simply outlines the practices the company has established and sworn by since it first brought generative AI technology to its platform. 

TRUST is, in fact, an acronym that synthesizes the five key elements in Shutterstock’s AI principles: 

Training – The agency trains its generative AI models exclusively with licensed content authorized by intellectual property owners and requires its AI partners to do the same. Furthermore, they enable its contributors to opt out of deals that imply using their work in AI training datasets. 

Royalties – The Shutterstock Contributor Fund is specially designed to compensate artists for using their IP in AI training and has, to date, paid out royalties to hundreds of thousands of Shutterstock contributors. 

Uplift – The company ensures its libraries host inclusive content that is a loyal representation of all social groups and subgroups, and its generative AI to avoid harmful bias; they aim to help fund creators from underrepresented collectives and to encourage the use of AI to transform and support human-made art, not replace it; they partner with high-profile initiatives for ethical AI practices such as the UN AI for Good and World Ethical Data Foundation.

Safeguards – The AI tools developed by Shutterstock are equipped with content controls that stop them from creating potentially harmful content, and simultaneously, its innovative indemnity policies tailored for AI-generated imagery protect customers when using this type of image licensed from Shutterstock.

Transparency – The firm ascribes to straightforwardness, transparency, and content provenance that can ensure them. They’re a member of the Content Authenticity Initiative, and all AI-generated imagery in its library complies with C2PA/IPTC metadata standards to grant full disclosure of content ownership and origin. All images in Shutterstock’s catalog clearly distinguish human-made from AI-generated, as well. 

And there you have it: TRUST. 

An Ethical Approach that Secures High-Profile Partnerships

According to Shutterstock, this five-fold approach to AI development, focusing on respecting artists and protecting customers, and its massive image library full of high-quality content that can be fairly licensed to train models make it a desirable collaborator for first-class companies. 

And they’re not wrong: industry leaders such as NVIDIA, Meta, OpenAI, and LG, among others, are currently partnering with Shutterstock in the development of various generative AI tools for image, text, and 3D graphics. 

What are your thoughts on Shutterstock’s TRUST? Will you adopt it as a framework for your use of visual AI technology? 


Ivanna Attie

All About Ivanna

I am an experienced author with expertise in digital communication, stock media, design, and creative tools. I have closely followed and reported on AI developments in this field since its early days. I have gained valuable industry insight through my work with leading digital media professionals since 2014.

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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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