Getty Images removes and bans art generated by artificial intelligence

Popular news and media service Getty Images has officially banned any AI-generated images from its servers and has started deleting any images it actually detects on its servers. This will include the illustration for this piece shown above. Wonder AI Text to Image app produced that collage of instant ‘photographic style newspaper stock photos’.

AI Images Out

Getty Images made it clear to its clients that legal uncertainty about the AI-generated images drove the decision. Text-to-image engines are trained on a variety of visual elements, including copyrighted material and clipped from the web. This makes good their production for non-commercial purposes under the fair use doctrine, but could theoretically lead to legal wrangling as it could infringe existing copyrights if someone tried to sell an image they paid to Midjourney, DALL-E 2 or Stable Diffusion to create.

Getty explained in a message to users. “There are open questions regarding the copyright of the output of these models and there are unaddressed rights issues regarding the base images and metadata used to train these models.”

Getty Images isn’t the first online art repository to block AI contributions, although it’s much larger than Newgrounds, PurplePort, or others who have come to the same conclusion. Fellow stock photo giant Shutterstock appears to be taking a more low-key approach to removing at least some of the AI-generated images from its platform, according to vice Report.

Getty made sure to note that digital design and editing tools like Photoshop are still usable. The slightly blurry line that defines this category of software as permissible seems to be the human element in photography, drawing, or programming. The gap between coming up with a claim that text-to-image AI can turn visual is a long way off. The effort to come up with a phrase that will produce a useful illustration like the one above won’t cut it. Legal rules that answer philosophical questions about how art and artists are defined may be necessary, but they are unlikely to leave things aside.

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