Getty Images bans images generated by artificial intelligence systems

Many copyright issues arise with AI-generated images. The Getty Images image bank has therefore decided to prohibit the uploading and sale images generated by tools such as DALL-E, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion or Make-A-Scene. With these tools, it suffices to describe the desired image for the software to generate the content.

It is one of the largest image banks to introduce such a ban, reports The Verge. Sites like Newgrounds, PurplePort, and FurAffinity have already made a similar move.

Protecting its customers

Getty Images CEO Craig Peters justified the move on concerns about the legality of AI-generated content and a desire to protect its customers. “There are real copyright concerns for the results from these models and unresolved legal issues regarding respect for the images, image metadata and the people in the image”, he explains. Getty Images explains that it is taking a proactive position in favor of its customers by prohibiting such images.

Craig Peters declined to say whether his agency has faced legal challenges over the sale of AI-generated content. He said such content was “extremely limited” on the platform and repeated his claim that the company was introducing this policy to avoid reputational and brand image risks and to protect customers. Its competitor Shutterstock has not introduced a specific policy on this subject but seems to limit certain searches for content generated by artificial intelligence, adds The Verge.

A debate on intellectual property

If the decision is made not to offer images generated by artificial intelligence, its application seems more complicated. Craig Peters explained that Getty Images will rely on users to identify and report such images. He added working with the C2PA association (Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity) to create filters. But it seems complicated to develop a reliable automated filter.

The people and companies behind these image generators assure that the technology is legal. But this legality could be challenged. Software like Stable Diffusion trains on copyrighted images from around the web, including personal art blogs, news sites, and photo sites like Getty Images. While the practice of “scraping” which consists of extracting a whole heap of content from Internet sites is legal, it raises many ethical and legal questions concerning the use that is made of it.

Some of the artists whose images have been used to train algorithms and who are therefore imitated when generating content are calling for new regulations. This raises questions about whether these generators are a danger for content creators or, on the contrary, allow the development of a new art. The law will undoubtedly have to take up this subject to define the contours of copyright for these images generated by AI but also for the content used to feed the algorithms generating these images.

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Getty Images bans images generated by artificial intelligence systems

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