Getty Images will ban the sale and upload of AI-generated content on its platform due to uncertain copyright laws surrounding AI images, the company announced Tuesday. The news follows recent decisions by sites like Newgrounds, PurplePort and FurAffinity, although Getty, the biggest in the user-generated content market, has implemented this ban. AI imagers such as DALL-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion search the internet for publicly available images - often copyrighted on news sites, blogs and photo sites like Getty Images itself - that are used to train their algorithms and which are often sampled in the images they create.
It remains unclear whether the purpose of using these original images qualifies as “transformative” — an important criterion of US fair use doctrine and one that most often involves commentary, criticism, or parody. “There are real copyright concerns regarding the outputs of these models and unaddressed rights issues with respect to the images, image metadata and individuals contained in the images,” Craig Peters, CEO of Getty Images, told the Verge. “We are being proactive for the benefit of our customers.” Whether the Getty will be able to enforce its ban remains to be seen. To eliminate AI-generated content, the company said it would trust users to report such images and that it would create filters with the help of the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity, an initiative founded last year to fight misinformation and fake news. Daniela Braga, a member of the White House Task Force on AI Policy, called for a “legislative solution” for the rapidly growing and largely unregulated field of artificial intelligence.