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Adobe to sell AI-generated images on its stock photo platform

Contributors will have to disclose whether their work was made using AI, and are not allowed rip off artists

Adobe will sell AI-generated images on its stock image platform, despite concerns the technology raises potential copyright issues, the company announced on Monday. 

Generative AI systems, like DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion, have taken the internet by storm. Trained on a gargantuan amount of data scraped from the internet, these models can create images given a text description. Some people have used the tools to mimic artists' styles, leading many to question whether AI-generated content can violate copyright laws.

If AI art violates copyright laws, can they be used for commercial purposes? If customers purchase a copyrighted image produced by AI off Adobe Stock, are they legally liable? These questions are yet to be answered definitively, considering there hasn't been a major AI copyright claim challenged in courts yet. Lawyers can only speculate on how current copyright laws apply to these newfangled technologies, but Adobe has said full steam ahead. 

"While early generative AI technologies have raised valid concerns, Adobe is committed to helping lead the evolution that will come from this technology into tools that empower artists, while never seeking to replace human imagination," Adobe said in a statement. 

"Properly built, used, and disclosed to viewers, generative AI can be a powerful tool to enhance creativity, accelerating the creative process to benefit both consumers of digital assets and the community of contributors who produce those assets."

Adobe Stock prohibits contributors from submitting images that rip off artists' styles, and cannot be based on text prompts that explicitly mention people, places, or property without permission. They must also clearly label such images as being generated using AI software. 

The company said it will be monitoring submissions and will take down content that breaks these rules. If the company faces a copyright claim, it will protect and cover any losses faced by buyers. "Standard IP indemnification is included in the unlikely event that a claim arises regarding an asset," it confirmed.

Stock image providers Getty and Shutterstock previously banned AI-generated due to copyright concerns, but have now launched partnerships with generative AI startups to allow customers to produce their own custom images using the software.

Sarah Casillas, a senior director at Adobe, told Axios the company "were pleasantly surprised" with AI content. "It meets our quality standards and it has been performing well," she said.

The Register has asked Adobe for comment. ®

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