As the artificial intelligence (AI) sector takes more and more place in our lives, actions are multiplying to reduce its impact on creation. Artists, lawyers and engineers are joining forces to limit the phenomenon of copying works, which could in the long term replace the work of artists.
The sense of injustice is understandable. In a few seconds, artificial intelligence (AI) generators produce copies of works of art, indistinguishable from those made by humans. These software tools therefore raise new questions. Are they legal? Is this use of AI ethical? But also, what defines a digital image as art? So many questions that remain unanswered today.
“For me, art is a process – it’s not just about the end result”, McKean, a multi-faceted British artist, emphasized in mid-February when asked by the Washington Post about his conception of art and creation.
In January, a group of artists filed a class-action lawsuit against three AI models: Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and DreamUp. These models were trained with billions of images collected on the internet. The unauthorized use of their work without consent, credit or financial compensation is at the heart of the artists’ battle.
Sarah Andersen, one of the lead plaintiffs, felt “intimately aggrieved” when she saw a drawing generated with her name on it, in the style of her comic “Fangs.” Her reaction was widely shared on Twitter, and other artists contacted her to join her cause. “We hope to set a legal precedent and force AI companies to follow rules”, she says.
Artists want the right to accept or reject the use of their work by an AI model, rather than having to ask for it to be removed, even if it is possible. Some artists are considering a licensing system, but “only if the commissions are enough to live on”, notes Karla Ortiz, another complainant. Ortiz, who has worked for Marvel, among others, refuses “to take pennies while the company makes millions.”
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