Midjourney AI messages reveal plans to plagiarise artists as young as 6 years old

An image of Midjourney AI stolen artists data sheet, 6 year old magic the gathering article Hyan Tran and his MTG card
Credit: Image of Hyan Tran via Extra Life Charity

Workers at Midjourney AI have seemingly worked to directly plagiarise the art styles of individual artists via its AI datasets, allowing customers to copy the work of thousands of talented artists across the world.

Midjourney AI and other AI art has often been labeled plagiarism and theft as sourced datasets of artwork without permission. With artists from brands such as Pokémon revealing their art styles can be directly copied, there’s now evidence that Midjourney has worked to allow users to mimic the styles of famous working artists.

Artists suing Midjourney AI on counts of plagiarism shared messages from the company’s Discord server discussing which artists to add into their datasets. Added in the form of a “styles” feature, users could pick from thousands of artists to generate works in their dedicated aesthetic.

A message from Midjourney CEO David Holz claims that, in 2022, the service allowed users to generate works from “4000 artist names and 1000 styles”. Another employee, known as Somnai, revealed they had “some 16k artists” to add into the AI’s dataset.

A huge list of artists copied in Midjourney’s dataset include countless artists for Hasbro’s Magic the Gathering franchise, Nintendo, YouTubers such as RubberRoss and countless independent artists working online.

One entry in the database includes Magic the Gathering artist Hyan Tran, a six year old child from a children’s hospital who drew an image for the popular trading card game.

With the release of Midjourney V6, the case for plagiarism within the AI art tool has only become worse for the company. With users now able to replicate almost like-for-like images of huge films like Avengers: Infinity War, The Super Mario Bros Movie, and many more, there’s no doubt that the dataset used by the company is breaching fair use of artists’ works.

Calls for regulation of generative AI models have been heard across the world. While regulation of AI has hit countries such as Japan, the majority of the world has yet to issue strong guidelines and barriers against artificial intelligence.

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