Getty Sues Stability AI for Copyright Infringement Over 12 Million Photos

Getty Images sues Stability AI over copyright infringement
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Getty Images sues Stability AI over copyright infringement
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Photo Credit: Midjourney AI Generated

Getty Images has launched a lawsuit against Stability AI over the unauthorized use of its images to train its AI model.

The lawsuit was filed in a U.S. district court in Delaware and claims, “Stability AI has copied more than 12 million photographs from Getty Images’ collection, along with the associated captions and metadata, without permission from or compensation to Getty Images, as part of its efforts to build a competing business.”

Getty alleges that Stability AI purposefully removed Getty’s copyright management information and infringed upon Getty’s famous watermark by duplicating it on AI-generated images. This is the second lawsuit launched against Stability AI, but the first in the United States. In January, Getty sued Stability AI in the United Kingdom.

Stability AI is also facing a class-action lawsuit from hundreds of artists who claim the AI was trained on their artwork without permission or compensation. The Getty lawsuits may ultimately impact Stability AI more due to the meticulous nature of Getty’s collection. In addition to images, each image contains robust metadata that can further help train artificial intelligence on celebrity faces, geographical locations, specific art styles, and much more.

How does AI-generated artwork work exactly?

Users of AI-generated artwork can enter prompts to generate almost any kind of artwork imaginable. The prompt to create the header image for this article was ‘an illustration of music notes, music sheets, and more, illustrated, painting, stylized.’ With a short combination of words, users are able to generate concepts and ideas within minutes—cutting artists, photographers, designers, and more out of the process entirely.

“Stability AI was well aware that the content it was scraping without permission from Getty Images’ websites was protected by copyright,” the complaint from Getty Images reads. Getty is requesting a jury trial to bring an end to Stability AI’s “blatantly infringing conduct and obtain redress for Stability AI’s callous disregard for its intellectual property rights.”

The company is also seeking damages and is asking the court to compel “a full and complete accounting to Getty Images for Stability AI’s profits, gains, advantages, and the value of the business opportunities received from its infringing acts.”