July 21, 2024
Copyright Challenge: AI Firms Prevail in Legal Battle with Artists

Copyright Challenge: AI Firms Prevail in Legal Battle with Artists

In a recent legal development, artists seeking to challenge generative artificial intelligence (AI) firms in a copyright infringement lawsuit have faced a setback, as a class-action lawsuit against several such firms was dismissed by a United States judge. California District Court Judge William Orrick issued an order on October 30, citing a lack of evidence and describing the lawsuit as “defective in numerous respects.” The dismissal bids from the accused firms, including generative AI image service Midjourney, art platform DeviantArt, and AI firm Stability AI, were granted.

However, Judge Orrick did allow one copyright infringement claim from a class-action member against Stability to proceed, and he granted the class 30 days to submit an amended lawsuit with more substantial evidence.

The original lawsuit, filed in mid-January, alleged that Stability’s AI model, Stable Diffusion, had scraped billions of copyrighted images without proper authorization, including those created by artists, to train its software. DeviantArt was also implicated in the suit, as it had incorporated Stable Diffusion into its platform, potentially copying millions of images without the necessary licenses and violating its own terms of service.

“Even Stability recognizes that determination of the truth of these allegations — whether copying in violation of the Copyright Act occurred in the context of training Stable Diffusion or occurs when Stable Diffusion is run — cannot be resolved at this juncture,” Orrick wrote. He pointed out that the AI-generated images likely do not infringe on the artists’ copyrights, stating that it is “not plausible” that they are derived from copyrighted images. He emphasized that he would need more evidence to be convinced that the generated images bear similarities to the artists’ work.

Furthermore, some class members saw their copyright claims dismissed because their images were not registered with the Copyright Office, a requirement for initiating a copyright infringement lawsuit.

This dismissal echoes similar legal actions against AI firms in the realm of copyright infringement allegations. Notably, the Author’s Guild pursued a class-action lawsuit against OpenAI, Universal Music Group filed a suit against Anthropic, and Getty Images initiated legal proceedings against Stability AI in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The legal landscape surrounding AI-generated content and copyright infringement remains complex and continues to evolve as these cases unfold.

Image: Wallpapers.com

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