Getty Images bans AI-generated art over copyright concerns

The stock photo provider says the technology is too risky.

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Jon Fingas
September 21, 2022 11:33 AM
This photo illustration shows the DALL-E website on a cellphone, in front of an AI image created using DALL-E technology displayed on a computer screen in Washington, DC, on July 20, 2022. - A million people eager to dabble with a new artificial intelligence tool that lets them create images simply by describing them with words will soon get their wish, its creators said Wednesday.
Artificial intelligence research firm OpenAI is conducting a wide-scale beta test of DALL-E, a cutting-edge software that creates images from textual descriptions. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds / AFP) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

Don't expect to see stock photos from DALL-E and other AI image creation tools. Getty Images chief Craig Peters told The Verge in a statement that his company has banned AI-generated art over the potential for copyright disputes. There are "unaddressed rights issues" with the technology, the CEO said, and this would help customers minimize the risk to their finances and reputations.

Peters didn't say if Getty had already encountered legal trouble with AI-generated content. He noted there was an "extremely limited" amount of that material on the platform. The company is teaming with the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity to create filters for AI-produced material, and is asking users to flag anything that slips through. Rivals like Shutterstock are already screening at least some imagery.

The move isn't shocking. While using AI to create an image isn't necessarily illegal, generators frequently sample images that may be copyrighted. Getty and its customers could face legal repercussions for effectively stealing art and profiting from it. There's also the chance governments could enact laws and regulations limiting use of the technology.

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There's no certainty the ban will work well in practice. As The Verge notes, it's not hard to find AI-made pictures on Getty at the moment. However, we wouldn't the company to change its tune unless it finds AI systems guaranteed to generate completely legal pictures.

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Getty Images bans AI-generated art over copyright concerns