👾AI Art Blurs Copyright Lines
If you've been on social media recently, you've no doubt seen people post cartoonish photos of themselves in styles ranging from anime character to Impressionist painting. These images are the product of an AI program on the app Lensa, which has been trained off real human artists' work that is publicly available images (pulled from DeviantArt, Pinterest, Getty Images, etc.) but never credited—or compensated, reports Buzzfeed News. Well, those artists aren't happy. In fact, they are calling AI art theft. “Artists dislike AI art because the programs are trained unethically using databases of art belonging to artists who have not given their consent,” an artist told BuzzFeed News.
Prisma Labs, the company behind Lensa, released a statement via tweet noting: “As cinema didn’t kill theater and accounting software hasn’t eradicated the profession, AI won’t replace artists but can become a great assisting tool. …We also believe that the growing accessibility of AI-powered tools would only make man-made art in its creative excellence more valued and appreciated, since any industrialization brings more value to handcrafted works.”
The Disney Hypothesis
While the artists who have found heavy reference to their work in Lensa's output (suggesting the AI was trained on their work) tend to be less well-known, some are beginning to ask if their copyright claims would be heard if a bigger IP-holder were on their side. “AI art isn’t theft? Pump some Disney and Nintendo in there. See what happens,” Illustrator Lauren Walsh tweeted.
New technology always raises new legal issues, and AI source material is no different. Is training your AI on the intellectual property of others and without compensating them, only to then generate your own IP for profit stealing? That's the question at hand.