The American company Midjourney, which designed the artistic AI of the same name, is being sued for plagiarism. According to the prosecution, the image-generating tool reproduced original works without the authors’ consent.
The accusation against Midjourney is a major copyright debate. According to the information gathered, the company Stable Diffusion is also targeted by this lawsuit. The complaint claims that generative artificial intelligence tools infringe copyright laws.
Midjourney: artists hope for a fair law on image-generating AIs
Three artists have filed a lawsuit against US startup MidJourney and Stability AI. The two companies are renowned for having designed the image-generating programs MidJourney and Stability AI Diffusion.
The terms of the complaint state that these tools infringe copyright laws. Indeed, many artists have already speculated that AIs take part of their creations without their knowledge. The tools would then use these extracts to create works at the user’s request.
The plaintiff artists are Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan and Karla Ortiz. All three have been cartooning illustrators for years. The charge was filed by attorney Matthew Butterick with the Northern District Court of California.
The lawyer believes that the courts should decide in favor of a fair and ethical law for all. This will help to regularize the production of numerous counterfeit images on the Internet, potentially harmful to the art market.
Are image-generating AIs breaking the law?
Copyright laws are still rather vague when it comes to AI-generated works. Those who have studied the subject believe that only the courts will be able to settle the matter definitively.
On the one hand, AI art developers are unanimous. The image generation process on their tools is supported by the U.S. fair use doctrine. However, other complicating factors may justify debate on the public use of these works. The most pertinent example is the objective of organizations that develop artistic AI. Justice could be in these organizations’ favor if the tools serve on non-profit research.
On the other hand, the charge against MidJourney is rather disputed because of its technical inaccuracy. Indeed, artistic AIs do not “steal” source images and then paste them together to form a new image. Instead, the algorithms of these tools analyze the mathematical patterns of source models. They then use these to create a new image from scratch..