Lawsuit Generative AI

Artists File Class Action Lawsuit Against Stability AI, Midjourney, DeviantArt Over Generative AI Art

A group of artists has filed a class action lawsuit over generative AI images against Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt. The plaintiffs claim the Stable Diffusion-based generative AI used by the three defendants violates various copyright laws, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and related rules.

Generative Image Ownership

Stable Diffusion, which powers the AI used by the three companies to generate images, was trained on the LAION-5B dataset and its billions of images. According to the lawsuit, using copyrighted images for that training violates copyright rules both directly and under the rules for forgeries, along with the DMCA ad DeviantArt’s Terms of Service. The plaintiffs are asking for compensation for damages and an injunction to stop it from happening until there’s a way to compensate artists for having their work used in AI image generation. The artists argue that the case is similar to how music streaming services eventually found a way to pay musical artists, and therefore a solution for images should be feasible.

The lawyers filed the suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California by Joseph Saveri Law Firm and Lockridge, Grindal, Nauen, law firms known for class action work, along with lawyer Matthew Butterick. Butterick’s involvement is notable as he is also involved in a lawsuit against Microsoft and OpenAI alleging that the generative AI coding assistant tool GitHub Copilot engages in software piracy. OpenAI’s own text-to-image product DALL-E doesn’t use Stable Diffusion, so it wouldn’t be included in this particular suit.

“AI needs to be fair and ethical for everyone,” Butterick said in a statement. “But Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt are appropriating the work of thousands of artists with no consent, no credit, and no compensation. As a lawyer who is also a longtime member of the visual-arts community, it’s a pleasure to stand up on behalf of fellow artists and continue this essential conversation about how we the people want AI to coexist with human culture and creativity.”

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