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Apr 15, 2023 8 min read

Stable Diffusion Copyright Lawsuits: A Legal Earthquake for AI

🔐 Premium: The copyright lawsuits against Stable Diffusion are a complex challenge for the AI industry. The courts have never ruled on the copyright implications of generative AI, and the outcome of these lawsuits could have far-reaching consequences for the entire industry.

Stable Diffusion Copyright Lawsuits: A Legal Earthquake for AI

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This article was written and created with the use of AI tools from NotionAI and Canva.

Stable Diffusion is a revolutionary AI software that can turn text into images. It has the ability to generate images by training on hundreds of millions of example images sourced from across the web. While some of these images were in the public domain or published under permissive licences such as Creative Commons, many others were not. The world's artists and photographers have voiced their concern and filed copyright lawsuits against Stability AI, the startup responsible for creating Stable Diffusion.

In January, three visual artists filed a class-action copyright lawsuit against Stability AI. The lawsuit alleges that Stability AI used copyrighted images to train Stable Diffusion without obtaining proper permissions or compensation. In February, the image-licensing giant Getty followed suit by filing its own copyright lawsuit against Stability AI. According to Getty, Stability AI copied more than 12 million photographs from Getty Images' collection, along with the associated captions and metadata, without permission or compensation.

Legal experts have stated that these lawsuits are uncharted legal waters. Generative AI is such a new technology that the courts have never ruled on its copyright implications. There are arguments that copyright's fair use doctrine allows Stability AI to use the images, but there are also compelling arguments on the other side.

Cornell legal scholar James Grimmelmann stated, "I'm more unsettled than I've ever been about whether training is fair use in cases where AIs are producing outputs that could compete with the input they were trained on." If the courts decide that Stability AI violated copyright law on a massive scale, it could have far-reaching consequences for the entire industry.

Openjourney is Stable Diffusion trained with Midjourney images

Midjourney images have gained popularity due to their aesthetic appeal, but the AI model comes with a cost. Openjourney, on the other hand, is a free alternative that builds on Midjourney generations, creating an interesting situation.

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