Getty Images, a leading provider of stock photos, has filed a lawsuit against AI image generator Stable Diffusion, alleging copyright infringement.

The American visual media company claims over 12 million of its copyrighted images were used to train Stable Diffusion,  and is demanding $1.8 trillion in compensation according to a lawsuit filed on February 3.

According to the lawsuit, images created by Stable Diffusion have the ability to replicate the distinctive Getty watermark, suggesting its AI had access to and used Getty’s library.

A statement was issued by Getty in January, with a claim that Stability AI had been processing millions of its images without proper licensing.

“Getty Images believes artificial intelligence has the potential to stimulate creative endeavors. Accordingly, Getty Images provided licenses to leading technology innovators for purposes related to training artificial intelligence systems in a manner that respects personal and intellectual property rights,” Getty wrote at the time.

Getty Gets Tough with Compensation Demand

The stock photo giant, whose extensive network comprises over 500,000 contributors and 115 staff photographers, videographers, and content experts, has demanded compensation of up to $150,000 for each image found to be infringing. In addition, it is insisting on the removal of these images and damages for violating copyright law.

“For any infringing acts occurring after registration of the applicable Getty Images copyrights, Getty Images is entitled, at its election, as an alternative to an award of actual damages and any additional profits earned by Stability AI, to recover statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each infringed work.”

The company claims the copyright infringement has not only affected its own income, but also the income of its contributors and premium content partners. Many of whom are exclusive to Getty Images and create award-winning content.

The lawsuit asserts that Stable Diffusion produces photographs with a distorted Getty watermark and that Stability AI has not taken any steps to stop this occurrence.

“Often, the output generated by Stable Diffusion contains a modified version of a Getty Images watermark, creating confusion as to the source of the images and falsely implying an association with Getty Images,” said Getty in the lawsuit.

The company accuses Stability AI of committing “brazen” theft of intellectual property on a large scale and is demanding trillions of dollars in compensation.

“Getty Images’ visual assets are highly desirable for use in connection with artificial intelligence and machine learning because of their high quality, and because they are accompanied by content-specific, detailed captions and rich metadata,” wrote Getty Images in the lawsuit.

AFP and Getty Paid Compensation for Image Theft

Getty Images previously paid a photographer $1.2 million in compensation for using images from the 2010 devastating earthquakes in Haiti alongside AFP, according to Slrlounge.

Photographer Daniel Morel won the lawsuit after AFP and Getty Images used his photo without his authorization.

“We believe that this is the first time that these defendants or any other major digital licensor of photography have been found liable for willful violations of the Copyright Act,” said Joseph Baio, Morel’s Lawyer with Slrlounge.

The outcome of this lawsuit by Getty Image will be closely monitored by the photography industry and intellectual property rights advocates. Not least because it will set a precedent for the use of AI in image creation and the potential consequences of copyright infringement going forward.

This article is originally from MetaNews.

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