The text-to-image deep learning model Stable Diffusion, which has been used by numerous AI-based art generators to create everything from edited selfies to otherworldly paintings, could soon find itself in court due to a class action lawsuit filed by three artists.
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Lawyer Matthew Butterick filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of the artists against Stability AI, art platform DeviantArt, and AI-based art generator Midjourney for using Stable Diffusion. Stability AI developed the Stable Diffusion model.
Butterick pointed out that Stable Diffusion was trained with millions of pieces of data, which included copyrighted works of art by artists who did not give permission for their creations to be used. Furthermore, they did not receive credit or pay in the process.
The three plaintiffs are cartoonist Sarah Andersen, painter Kelly McKernan, and illustrator Karla Ortiz.
Many platforms using Stable Diffusion allow untrained users to churn out content that look like pieces created by still-living original artists.
“At minimum, Stable Diffusion’s ability to flood the market with an essentially unlimited number of infringing images will inflict permanent damage on the market for art and artists,” said the lawyer in a blog post on his site on January 13.
He referred to Stable Diffusion as a “21st century collage tool.”
“Even assuming nominal damages of $1 per image, the value of this misappropriation would be roughly $5 billion,” said Butterick.