Well it was bound to happen, and one night last week it did. A group of artists filed a class-action lawsuit against the two major generative art companies, Midjourney and Stability AI. The three plaintiffs (none of whom are Greg Rutkowski, although I have to imagine he’s enjoying the show) have filed the case based on the “millions of artists” whose work was used to train the AI models.
This artwork, taken without compensation or attribution, allegedly allowed these companies to “benefit commercially and profit richly,” leading to lost sales to the original artists. There are other suits in the works as well, including one from Getty Images against Stability AI that alleges similar damages as the above, and a third high-profile suit against Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI that is ostensibly about the fact that Microsoft has a lot of money. [Ed - $61.3B in 2022 net income]
All of these cases are probably destined to go nowhere- the current state of copyright law is so behind the times that it doesn’t even adequately protect online image hosting, let alone AI. Whatever is going to happen to bring cases like these to a final resolution is going to take decades to sort out.
I mean, maybe in that time AI can find a way to simulate a remotely competent Supreme Court, but let’s be honest. Even the most powerful of computers have their limits.