Many AI systems require huge training datasets in order to achieve their impressive feats. This applies whether or not you’re talking about an AI that works with images, natural language, or just about anything else. AI developers are starting to come under scrutiny for where they’re sourcing their datasets. Unsurprisingly, stock photo site Getty Images is at the forefront of this, and is now suing the creators of Stable Diffusion over the matter, as reported by The Verge.
Stability AI, the company behind Stable Diffusion, is the target of the lawsuit for one good reason: there’s compelling evidence the company used Getty Images content without permission. The Stable Diffusion AI has been seen to generate output images that actually include blurry approximations of the Getty Images watermark. This is somewhat of a smoking gun to suggest that Stability AI may have scraped Getty Images content for use as training material.
The copyright implications are unclear, but using any imagery from a stock photo database without permission is always asking for trouble. Various arguments will likely play out in court. Stability AI may make claims that their activity falls under fair use guidelines, while Getty Images may claim that the appearance of perverted versions of their watermark may break trademark rules. The lawsuit could have serious implications for AI image generators worldwide, and is sure to be watched closely by the nascent AI industry. As with any legal matter, just don’t expect a quick answer from the courts.
[Thanks to Dan for the tip!]