Stability AI & Mid-Journey Face Lawsuit Over Use of AI-Generated Images

In November 2022, a class-action lawsuit was filed against GitHub Copilot for its “unprecedented open-source software piracy”. The suit was brought by writer, designer, programmer, and lawyer Matthew Butterick and the Joseph Saveri Law Firm.

Since then, the legal team has heard from individuals all over the world, particularly writers, artists, programmers, and other creators, who are concerned about AI systems being trained on vast amounts of copyrighted work without consent, credit, or compensation.

Now, the legal team has taken another step towards making AI fair and ethical for everyone by filing a class-action lawsuit against Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Midjourney for their use of Stable Diffusion, a 21st-century collage tool that remixes the copyrighted works of millions of artists whose work was used as training data.

Stable Diffusion is an artificial intelligence (AI) software product that was released in August 2022 by Stability AI. The software contains unauthorized copies of millions, and possibly billions, of copyrighted images that were made without the knowledge or consent of the artists. Even assuming nominal damages of $1 per image, the value of this misappropriation would be roughly $5 billion.

Stable Diffusion belongs to a category of AI systems called generative AI. These systems are trained on a certain kind of creative work, such as text, software code, or images, and then remix these works to derive or “generate” more works of the same kind. This means that the software relies on mathematical processes to store compressed copies of training images, which are then recombined to derive other images.

This lawsuit has significant implications for the AI industry, as it raises important questions about the use of copyrighted works in training AI systems and the rights of creators. It also highlights the need for ethical guidelines and regulations in the field of AI and the importance of obtaining consent and providing credit and compensation to creators whose work is used in this way.

As the case moves forward, it will be important to follow the developments and the eventual outcome, as it could set a legal precedent for the use of copyrighted works in AI training and have a significant impact on the industry.

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