Canva creates $200M kitty to pay creators for stuff they feed its design-bot

Maybe this being-ethical-with-creators-and-not-just-ripping-off-their-stuff thing is gathering steam

Australian SaaSy graphic design outfit Canva has promised to pay $200 million to creators who agree to have their work shoved into the maw of its newly minted AI.

Canva’s design suite boasts 150 million users. Plenty are pros, but many are not. Canva's use of clip art that can be dragged and dropped into templates – and then arrange itself in accordance with sound design principles – lends itself to use by part timers who lack formal design skills or folks who want to whip up a passably professional wedding invitation.

The org on Thursday announced Magic Studio – a very 2023 offering that uses generative AI to combine text-to-image, text, video, or all of the above. The creative toolmaker suggests Magic Studio can create a social media post incorporating text and images when promoted to produce a "post for a travel company promoting a beach holiday giveaway." The tool can also create videos or presentations based on prompts, plus input of users' own images.

There's also a copywriting assistant, and a photo editor that uses AI to do tricks like sampling an image's background so it can be extended.

Canva also operates a marketplace of objects created by users, so others can pay for them when using the platform.

Those creators have been promised that their work won't be fed into Canva's AI model by default, and that should they opt in they can later choose to opt out.

Those who do opt for their works to be used training Canva's AI models will be eligible to receive some of the cash it is "committing" to pay over the next three years.

Works created by all other users are opted out of AI ingestion by default.

That's a marked contrast to the likes of OpenAI, which indiscriminately scoured the internet for content, earning itself lawsuits from cranky content creators who are justifiably upset their copyright was ignored. The issue of AI creating works based on past efforts by humans was also a prime reason for the recently concluded Hollywood writers' strike.

Canva has also indemnified its users against copyright claims flowing from images its AI generates – something Microsoft did months after its Copilot beta commenced.

Getty Images recently introduced a service on terms like Canva's – promising to respect creator rights and send them coin.

Canva's AI and ML expertise isn't only applied to its design products: the outfit publishes an engineering blog that recently detailed how it replaced an SQL rules-based system it used to assess ad keyword quality with a machine learning model.

"Our system demonstrated strong performance with a reduced cost compared to the primary metric of new active users we were aiming for, with between five percent and 50 percent cost reductions depending on the campaign," wrote ML engineers Paul Tune and Ben Alexander. ®

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