Image publisher Getty bans AI art over fears of litigation

The world’s biggest image publisher Getty Images is terrified of AI generated art. After one a decade of being the biggest image licensing company ever made, the company is forcing new rules to stop litigation.

Following the same trend as smaller websites like Newgrounds, Getty Images has banned uploads of AI art. This means that AI art from programs such as DALLE 2, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion will not be allowed to be used on the service.

Why did Getty Images ban AI art?

Speaking to The Verge, Getty Images CEO Craig Peters revealed concerns about the legality of AI images. With services like Stable Diffusion ripping off artists’ styles completely, generative art exists in a legal grey area.

“There are real concerns with respect to the copyright of outputs from these models and unaddressed rights issues with respect to the imagery, the image metadata and those individuals contained within the imagery,” he told the outlet.

Peters explained that the use of these images doesn’t just spell trouble for the company, but also people who license the content. With this in mind, it’s safer to only license user-made images for the foreseeable future.

“We are being proactive to the benefit of our customers,” he continued. “[We want to] avoid risk to [customers’] reputation, brand and bottom line.”

Peters did explain that blanket banning all AI content may be impossible. The company will be relying on users to flag any content that seems AI generated. This means that there won’t be any automatic filter, at least for the time being.

Read More: A third of AI scientists believe Artificial Intelligence can end the world

What about its competitors?

While Getty Images is the go-to service for stock images, it’s not the only company around. However, it does appear to be the only image licensing company that’s banning generative art outright.

On the other hand, reports claim that the company’s primary competitor Shutterstock is fighting AI art as well, albeit not in the same way. Instead, the company is simply limiting searches for generative content.

Peters claims that AI art is not necessarily a tool to fear despite the ban. However, in its early state, companies need to be wary of how they use it.

“The world is already awash in imagery,” he explained. “Digital cameras generated an exponential growth in imagery given the reduced cost and simplicity of capture, transmission and use. The introduction of the smartphone and social media took this to all new levels, with trillions of images taken and posted. Our business has never been about the ease of creating imagery or the resulting volume. It is about connecting and cutting through.”

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