AI art tools Stable Diffusion and Midjourney targeted with copyright lawsuit

Roger Stringer Roger Stringer
January 16, 2023
2 min read

James Vincent, writing for The Verge:

A trio of artists have launched a lawsuit against Stability AI and Midjourney, creators of AI art generators Stable Diffusion and Midjourney, and artist portfolio platform DeviantArt, which recently created its own AI art generator, DreamUp.

The artists — Sarah Andersen, Kelly McKernan, and Karla Ortiz — allege that these organizations have infringed the rights of “millions of artists” by training their AI tools on five billion images scraped from the web “without the consent of the original artists.”

The lawsuit has been filed by lawyer and typographer Matthew Butterick along with the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, which specializes in antitrust and class action cases. Butterick and Saveri are currently suing Microsoft, GitHub, and OpenAI in a similar case involving the AI programming model CoPilot, which is trained on lines of code collected from the web.


The lawsuit launched by Butterick and the Joseph Saveri Law Firm has also been criticized for containing technical inaccuracies. For example, the suit claims that AI art models “store compressed copies of copyright-protected training images” and then “recombine” them; functioning as “21st-century collage tools.” However, AI art models do not store images at all, but rather mathematical representations of patterns collected from these images. The software does not piece together bits of images in the form of a collage, either, but creates pictures from scratch based on these mathematical representations.

Launching a lawsuit without entirely understanding the technology… That seems more to get attention than anything else.

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