Artists Lawsuit Against AI Art Generators

21 january 2023 year

Three artists have filed a lawsuit against Stability AI and Midjourney, as well as DeviantArt, for creating their own DreamUp neural network, alleging that neural networks grossly violate copyright law.

CG artists Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan and Carla Ortiz believe that these companies violate the rights of millions of artists around the world, using about five billion images to teach without the consent of the artists.

The lawsuit was filed by lawyer and typographer Matthew Butterick with the law firm of Joseph Savery, whose organization specializes in antitrust cases and class action lawsuits, they are currently suing GitHub, Microsoft and OpenAI over the CoPilot AI programming model, which learns from lines of code collected from the network.

Artists sue AI

Butterick believes the case is "another step towards making AI fair and ethical for all." He is convinced that graphical neural networks, such as Stable Diffusion, can flood the market with an unlimited number of infringing images, which in turn will cause irreversible damage to the art market and artists.

In the last year, the popularity of neural networks has increased greatly, this is due to significant progress in the capabilities of neural networks (and not only graphic ones), the art community reacted very violently to this and was divided in opinion. Some say that these tools can be useful, like any other graphics software, while others see neural networks as an uncontrollable threat, devaluing creativity and opposing the use of original works of artists to train these paid services.

Neural networks are, in principle, impossible without a learning process on copyrighted works, for which the authors did not give consent, the fact that they take money for access to services is one of the reasons and clues for filing a lawsuit. In general, the activities of companies developing neural networks create many conflicts with the legislative framework, and the moment when lawsuits will go was just a matter of time.

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