Getty Images is Suing AI Company Stability AI

Getty Images, one of the world’s largest stock photo companies, is suing AI firm Stability AI over alleged copyright violation. The lawsuit, which has been filed in the High Court of Justice in London, alleges that Stability AI “unlawfully copied and processed millions of images protected by copyright” to train its AI art tool, Stable Diffusion.

According to Getty Images CEO Craig Peters, the company has issued Stability AI with a “letter before action” as a formal notification of the impending litigation. Peters stated in an interview with The Verge that the company is taking legal action to protect their and their contributors’ intellectual property rights. Peters also compared the current legal landscape in the generative AI scene to the early days of digital music, where companies like Napster offered popular but illegal services before new deals were struck with license holders like music labels.

Stability AI, which is based in the US, has not yet commented on the lawsuit. However, the company has stated that artists will be able to opt-out of the next version of Stable Diffusion. The current version of the software relies on human-created images for training data, which is often scraped from the web without the knowledge or consent of the creators.

This lawsuit marks an escalation in the growing legal battle between AI firms and content creators over credit, profit, and the future direction of the creative industries. AI art tools like Stable Diffusion have raised questions over whether their use of copyrighted images constitutes fair use or copyright violation. Legal experts are divided on the issue, but agree that such questions will have to be decided in the courts.