Imagebank Shutterstock to sell works created by AI

Imagebank Shutterstock to sell works created by AI

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While Shutterstock has started removing AI-generated images from its database, Shutterstock has finally announced that it will now work with OpenAI to offer its customers artificially generated images — alongside images provided by real photographers or graphic designers. If Shutterstock planned some form of compensation for artists, the news raised some skepticism among industry professionals.

Shutterstock is one of the world’s leading image platforms: thanks to a community of more than two million contributors, hundreds of thousands of images are added to the database every week; it currently has over 425 million images and over 27 million video clips. The company just struck a deal with OpenAI to offer its customers the ability to instantly generate images based on criteria they enter. How ? Thanks to DALL-E, a text-to-image conversion program developed by OpenAI — and whose second version was recently released.

But like any artificial intelligence, DALL-E must be trained to perform at its best. Thus, Shutterstock planned to compensate the authors of the images that will be used for this learning. ” The means to express creativity are constantly evolving and developing. We recognize that it is our great responsibility to embrace these developments and ensure that the generative technology that drives innovation is based on ethical practices. said Paul Hennessy, CEO of Shutterstock, in a press release.

The terms of the compensation remain unclear

Note that this announcement comes just days after Microsoft’s annual innovation conference (Ignite 2022), during which the Redmond company presented several solutions and tools dedicated to graphic design. It turns out that DALL-E 2 will be integrated into Microsoft applications available to the general public, such as Microsoft Designer (available in Microsoft 365) or Image Creator (in Microsoft Bing).

Second version of DALL-E, introduced in April, creates breathtakingly realistic images. In addition to even more accurate resolution, the program is now able to make adjustments to an existing image from natural language indications, respecting the play of shadows and light. It relies on a process called “diffusion” that starts from a pattern of random dots and gradually turns that pattern into an image as it recognizes specific aspects of that image.

In the coming months, Shutterstock customers will gain direct access to these image generation capabilities, while contributors to the platform will be rewarded every six months through a compensation pool “for the role their content plays”: Shutterstock has also created a framework for providing additional compensation to artists whose works have helped develop AI models. The company also aims to compensate its contributors in the form of royalties for the use of their intellectual property. “, we can read in the press release.

However, the company did not specify what percentage of the revenue would go to contributors or how the contributions would be divided. So some remain skeptical. In practice, it will be really difficult to determine which input data was referenced to create a given output element…

Getty Images promotes editing rather than creating

Faced with this legal uncertainty over the copyright of a man-made image, companies have so far been reluctant to use them – which is why Shutterstock has sought to remove them from its database. The situation may become clearer in the coming months.

A Shutterstock spokesperson said the company will continue to ban uploads of works created by artificial intelligence and that its collaboration with OpenAI is an attempt to embrace new technologies in an ethical way. It concluded that the images used to train the AI ​​came entirely from Shutterstock’s archives, and the company said it wanted to ensure all contributors were protected and compensated.

Note that one of Shutterstock’s competitors, Getty Images, took exactly the same turn : While it banned the sale of AI-generated images last month, the company has just announced a partnership with Israeli start-up BRIA. Again, this partnership was motivated by the prospect of being able to offer users the ability to create custom images that meet specific needs using intuitive tools. But according to the company’s CEO, Craig Peters, Getty Images’ approach is different: it doesn’t offer to create an image from scratch, but to transform an existing image—which, according to the CEOis the more “ethical” use of AI.

Shutterstock and Getty are no longer just hosting providers where creators can sell the rights to their digital artwork created using external text-to-image tools. Now they can participate in content creation and marketing themselves by providing the software », summarizes the article from Register.

Photographers and artists today fear that their income, already drained by content platforms, will continue to decline – customers will likely prefer to create an image on the fly that matches their exact needs rather than search through a catalog. Adrian Alexander Medina, editor of literary websites and magazines Aphotic Realmevokes the risk of ostracizing professional photographers and illustrators.

Moreover, these art-making technologies are fed with so much data that they often end up imitating the style of certain artists. The nuance that distinguishes them from pure and simple plagiarism is still unclear… Future legal challenges are certain to be faced as these technologies are deployed.

source: Shutterstock

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