AI Art Sparks Heated Controversy Over Copyright Law

As more industries embrace the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate critical processes, concerns have been raised over the legality of AI-generated pieces of art. This has led to many lawsuits against AI art generators for copyright infringement.

For example, several lawsuits have already been filed against famous AI generators like Stability AI, DeviantArt, and MidJourney for using work created by artists to train their AI art generation tools. These companies have been accused of using billions of artists’ images that they download directly from the internet to train their AI art generators without their permission.

So, as you contemplate using AI tools like DALL-E 3 text-to-image model to generate your images, become familiar with the legal implications surrounding this technology.

If you’re using DALL-E, learning some of the history of DALL-E is important before you start, as it will help you understand how it works and the kind of legal concerns raised about it. This way, you can figure out a way to use it without falling into the copyright trap.

Do AI Art Tools Violate Copyright?

These AI tools use diffusion models and neural networks to learn and internalise the training datasets. Consider that neural networks are algorithms that identify relationships in datasets by simulating the human brain.

What are diffusion models? They are generative models that can be trained on specific datasets to generate a variety of outputs that are similar to the dataset they’re trained on. Therefore, the AI tool somewhat mimics the images it’s been trained on.

However, it generates images based on the instructions you’ve provided in your text prompt. So, even though it’s been trained using someone else’s work, it generates new images from your text prompts, which are your unique ideas.

This only complicates the copyright issues even further. It’s up to the legal experts to interpret what amounts to a violation of copyright laws.

Common Legal Issues Around AI Art

Many people who criticise AI art claim that it replaces human creativity, which is essential for creating genuine pieces of art. However, those who have embraced this technology claim that it has enhanced their creativity and helped them reach heights they never imagined they would reach with their artwork.

Others claim that AI art violates copyright laws because the AI image generators are trained on datasets that contain other people’s images. They argue that the companies who develop these AI tools don’t seek permission from the originators of these datasets.

Who Owns the Credit for Work Generated With AI Tools?

The copyright law defines what can be copyrighted and who owns the copyright, not the individual who gets the credit for the work. In general, the person who creates the copyrighted work owns the copyright, unless they were hired to create the piece and it is stipulated in a contract.

If you’ve been hired or employed to generate AI images for your company, your employer owns the copyright. However, copyright ownership is somewhat different from credit ownership.

Image credit is an acknowledgment of your efforts in the generation of a piece of art, which doesn’t have any legal backing. Copyright is a legal right to own the artwork. Therefore, if someone else uses your copyrighted work in a manner to insinuate that it’s their original work without your permission, you can successfully sue them for infringement.

For example, if you use an AI art tool to generate images from text prompts that are your original idea, you get credit for the images. If someone else assisted you in generating these images, they won’t get credit. Of course, you can share royalties with your assistant when you sell the piece of art. 

It’s also important to note that the current copyright law in the United States only protects the original work created by a human being–it doesn’t protect non-human creators, including AI tools. This means that the department that handles copyright issues won’t register your AI-generated images unless they contain some copyrightable inputs.

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