April 19, 2024
More Artists Join Copyright Suit Against Stability AI, MidJourney
AI

More Artists Join Copyright Suit Against Stability AI, MidJourney

A copyright lawsuit targeting multiple artificial intelligence (AI) tool developers has undergone amendments, with artists alleging the unauthorized use of their creative works. The recent modifications to the case, initially dismissed by a U.S. judge, introduce seven new artists to the plaintiff group.

Notably, H. Southworth, Grzegorz Rutkowski, Gregory Manchess, Gerald Brom, Jingna Zhang, Julia Kaye, and Adam Ellis have joined the legal action. The amended class-action lawsuit specifically implicates Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt and introduces a new defendant, Runway AI.

The core allegation is that these entities have created systems capable of generating art mimicking the styles of the artists involved, provided their names are used as prompts for AI. The claim asserts that users of these AI tools can produce art that is virtually indistinguishable from the original works of the artists.

The artists argue that, despite the AI developers presenting their products in lofty terms, the reality is less ideal. They contend that AI image products are primarily utilized as “copyright-laundering devices,” offering customers the advantages of art creation without compensating the artists for their work. One notable accusation involves Midjourney, a popular generative AI tool boasting approximately 16.4 million users, according to its website.

The artists claim that Midjourney has violated federal trademark laws in the United States. They point to Midjourney’s website, which features a list of over 4,700 artists’ names that can be used as generative prompts. This practice, the plaintiffs argue, has resulted in AI-generated images associated with artists’ names appearing prominently in internet search results, potentially misleading the public and diluting the artists’ brands.

A specific incident is highlighted in the case, where artist Kelly McKernan discovered that an AI-generated image prompted with their name was the top search result. The amended lawsuit contends that such instances represent a bleak future for artists if left unchecked.

While parts of the original case were previously dismissed due to insufficient evidence, U.S. Judge William Orrick allowed the plaintiffs to revisit the claims in an updated form. This development sheds light on the broader landscape of copyright infringement cases within the AI industry, involving not only smaller entities but also major players like Google, Microsoft, and Meta.

These legal battles underscore the complex intersection of AI technology and intellectual property rights, prompting ongoing scrutiny and legal challenges.

Image By stockgiu

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