Stability AI Sued for Allegedly Stealing Getty Images Photos

Stability AI Sued for Allegedly Stealing Getty Images Photos
Are these faces originally generated or derivative works?

Getty Images, an American visual media company, has announced a lawsuit against the creator of Stable Diffusion, Stability AI, for copyright infringement. Stable Diffusion is an AI tool that can create pictures from text descriptions, and can also be used for other tasks like filling in missing parts of images or changing parts of them.

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Stability AI has been accused of coping and processing millions of Getty Images’ images without proper licensing, as per the press release issued Tuesday.

“Getty Images believes artificial intelligence has the potential to stimulate creative endeavors. Accordingly, Getty Images provided licenses to leading technology innovators for purposes related to training artificial intelligence systems in a manner that respects personal and intellectual property rights,” Getty wrote in the statement.

Getty Images, a company that distributes stock images and news photos, accusing Stability AI is profiting from its pictures and those of its partners.

“Stability AI did not seek any such license from Getty Images and instead, we believe, chose to ignore viable licensing options and long standing legal protections in pursuit of their stand-alone commercial interests.”

Stability AI Waiting for Official Document

While Getty Images claim that they have requested a response from the Stability AI, the AI firm is still waiting for the service of any documents.

“Please know that we take these matters seriously. It is unusual that we have been informed about this intended legal action via the press. We are still awaiting the service of any documents. Should we receive them, we will comment appropriately,” said a spokesperson of Stability AI.

Angela Pontarolo, Stability AI’s press representative, denied that the AI firm has already been informed, stating that it has not received information about the lawsuit and cannot comment on it.

“We don’t believe this specific deployment of Stability’s commercial offering is covered by fair dealing in the UK or fair use in the US. The company made no outreach to Getty Images to utilize our contributors’ material so we’re taking action to protect our and our contributors’ intellectual property rights,” said Craig Peters, CEO of Getty Images.

The full details of the charge have not been released yet, but CEO Peters indicated that the lawsuit includes copyright violations and violations of Getty Images’ terms of service. CEO Peters also hints that the company is not looking for coverage of financial damage or to stop technology, but rather to establish new statutes around it.

“I don’t think it’s about damages and it’s not about stopping the distribution of this technology. I think there are ways of building generative models that respect intellectual property. I equate Napster and Spotify,” he added.

“Spotify negotiated with intellectual property rights holders — labels and artists — to create a service. You can debate over whether they’re fairly compensated in that or not, but it’s a negotiation based of the rights of individuals and entities. And that’s what we’re looking for, rather than a singular entity benefiting of the backs of others. That’s the long term goal of this action,” said Peters.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.