Kickstarter AI Art

Kickstarter Boots AI-Generated Art Projects

Kickstarter will no longer allow a project for synthetically generated images to crowdfund on the platform. The policy change follows protests over an open-source AI art modeling system by a group called Unstable Diffusion (parodying the fast-growing Stable Diffusion text-to-image tool), which had raised $56,177 from 867 backers before its removal, more than double its initial $25,000 goal.

Synthetic Media Kicked

Unstable Diffusion described their project as “the development of open-source, community first, AI models that will achieve the dream of a billion people exploring and creating art with nothing but their imagination. This revolution in human expression will be equivalent to the invention of the printing press, or the internet. AI that allows for anyone to make art.” The group is best known for its efforts to apply AI generated images to adult subjects that OpenAI, Stability AI, and other text-to-image tool developers don’t allow users to try and make. Unstable Diffusion’s attempt to crowdfund its own models to get around those limits drew ire from more than a few people who shared their displeasure online.

Kickstarter heeded the requests to look into the matter, and ended up agreeing not to host Unstable Diffusion. There are no specifics yet on what this might mean for future generative AI projects, however. The company plans on judging the project based on issues of unlicensed use of copyrighted data and potential for causing harm.

“I want to share some of our thoughts on Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated images and AI art as it develops, because many creators on Kickstarter are understandably concerned about its impact on the creative community. At Kickstarter, we often have projects that are innovative and push the boundaries of what’s possible. And that means we’re sometimes navigating some really tricky and undefined areas,” Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor wrote in a blog post about Kickstarter’s AI image policies. “Over the last several days, we’ve engaged our Community Advisory Council and we’ve read your feedback to us via our team and social media. And one thing is clear: Kickstarter must, and will always be, on the side of creative work and the humans behind that work. We’re here to help creative work thrive.”

After the project was pulled, there were further reports that the backers and creators were discussing ways of getting back at the artists who complained on a Discord server.

Kickstarter isn’t alone in attempting to navigate the debate of synthetic media generation, especially with visual art. For instance, Getty Images outright banned the submission of AI-generated art to its stock art platform. Meanwhile, Deviant Art prohibits AI models from training with images it hosts, though it introduced its own text-to-image generator last month. And Shutterstock decided to work with OpenAI to integrate DALL-E onto its platform, but with compensation of some kind for artists whose work is used to train the model.

“This tech is really new, and we don’t have all the answers,” Taylor wrote. “The decisions we make now might not be the ones we make in the future, so we want this to be an ongoing conversation with all of you.”

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