Getty sues Stability AI for copying 12M photos

Every day I read photo news. It’s not usually new camera gear, though that’s fun stuff. I’m usually researching changes in laws, trends in media, copyright application, photography ethics in real time; I post about some of it here, but this article by Art Technical but Ashley Belanger brought together two issues I’ve been following.

One, the new AI bots that create art; a lot of people think they are great, but I don’t agree. They steal art from online sources, sometimes directly from art websites (and the ai designers who say they were unaware?  Total bs; they could have easily written that out of the algorithm, but they didn’t, did they.) In copying the art and art styles from artists, there’s less reason or desire to hire actual artists–they trend has already been seen in mere weeks.

Two, photographs can easily have their watermarks removed, or copyright information wiped out. I try to explain to students why it’s so important to download images properly, to retain your metadata and camera info to prove your initial creation in case it happens to you; it happened to me early on in the webs, and by another photographer, no less. I had to get lawyers involved, too, which took money and time. So stealing images is no joke, not to me.

However, I did have a sense of schadenfreude at reading this article, because of who was getting their images stolen–Getty. As I read up on photo news, I know that for years, Getty had stolen TONS of images from photographers and had been selling them at profit online–most artists couldn’t afford to take them to court, though a few did make cases. So the fact that Getty is suing Stability AI…I couldn’t help but see the irony.

Still, the article itself is worth reading, because it has much larger implications about how AI gets images to make portraits, artwork, commercials–and they can scrape images from not just art websites, but from medical reports and online databases (I did a post about that a few years ago too) and so many other places (like Facebook) that claims your images for their own use.

Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket

According to [Getty’s] newest lawsuit filed in a US district court in Delaware, “Stability AI has copied more than 12 million photographs from Getty Images’ collection, along with the associated captions and metadata, without permission from or compensation to Getty Images, as part of its efforts to build a competing business.”

In this lawsuit, Getty alleged that Stability AI went so far as to remove Getty’s copyright management information, falsify its own copyright management information, and infringe upon Getty’s “famous trademarks” by duplicating Getty’s watermark on some images. Reuters reported Getty’s second lawsuit against Stability AI followed last month’s filing in the United Kingdom. On top of those lawsuits, Stability AI is also facing a class-action lawsuit from artists claiming that the company trained its Stable Diffusion model on billions of copyrighted artworks without compensating artists or asking for permission.

To read the article in full (it’s pretty short, but it’s food for thought) go to :


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