Generative art via artificial intelligence is a controversial tool, often criticised for digital plagiarism. In response to the art community’s fight against AI generation, anime convention Animé Los Angeles has banned the technology.
Communities frequented by anime fans have been very vocal about AI art. Famously, art community Newgrounds and others banned generative artwork from their platforms.
Following that trend, Animé Los Angeles has restricted all AI generations from its convention. As artists typically use conventions to sell prints of art, the convention will be restricting the sales of any product that uses AI.
After frequent discussions regarding the place of AI art in the anime community, the convention managers decided to fight against it. On Twitter, the convention page released a lengthy statement disclosing the barring of AI generative work from the event.
“Our staff has been watching the discussion and has determined that based on the current nature of its implementation and lack of regard towards artists, we cannot in good faith let this kind of product exist in our space,” the statement reads. “We at Animé Los Angeles do not condone or accept any form of Al-generated art piece being used within our promotional materials, nor sold in our Exhibit Hall or Artist Alley.”
The event managers revealed that they will act strictly when it comes to generative works. Any artwork that is deemed to be AI-generated will be “considered a form of counterfeit/bootleg merchandise”. This means that it will be removed from the convention.
Furthermore, Animé Los Angeles confirmed that all artwork for the event has and will be commissioned. Instead of relying on computers to create artwork based on datasets, real artists will be used.
“We are very protective of the work that our contributing artists create and recognize the value they bring to our identity and convention space,” the statement reads. “Anything you see on our website, our promotional pieces, or our products is (and always will be) created by an artist that we have reached out to work directly with.”
However, the convention did reveal that AI art may have a place at the convention in the future. If an art generator is created that only uses artwork with consent is created, then that will be allowed… with proof.
“Animé Los Angeles considers any work that is created with an Al-program that uses sources the artist does not own or hold rights to, to be in violation,” the convention announced. “If, in the future, such a program is created that allows for only specific images the artist owns to be sourced from, it will be the artist’s responsibility to provide proof that the pieces were not created from stolen images.”
AI art generation may be good, but it’s still not perfect. While service like Midjourney may be able to fool enough people to win an art competition, the technology is not foolproof. Anyone who’s used services like Stable Diffusion knows just how often the tech can create horrifying results. (Let’s not forget about Loab.)