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Getty Images to be sued by Stable Diffusion over watermark insertion

Getty Images to be sued by Stable Diffusion over watermark insertion

Getty Images is facing a potential lawsuit from Stable Diffusion, a crowd-sourced creative picture library, over the watermark they inserted into a neural network that generates images. The argument is that this violates Stable Diffusion’s intellectual property rights because the neural network – while open source – should not be used to promote the Getty brand this blatantly. This could have far reaching consequences for photographers who depend on the sale of their stock prints and blurs the line between reproduction and art. Photographers and graphics designers intent on manipulating images generated by AI by inserting copyright watermarks must be mindful of copyright issues and should ensure all necessary approvals are sought in order to avoid potential infringement litigation.

Getty Images, one of the world’s largest stock images corporations, allegedly inserted their watermark into photorealistic images produced by a neural network. Stable Diffusion alleges that this is a case of copyright infringement as they own the rights to the images they generate with their popular neural network technology. They are accusing Getty Images of inserting these tampered images into the training dataset without consulting them – a clear violation of copyright law. This incident provides yet another reminder of how blurred the lines between digital art and real photography can be, and serves to highlight the importance of protecting one’s intellectual property in this digital age.

But how did Getty Images add their watermarks to the training dataset?

Getty Images is at the forefront of using powerful and innovative technology to protect their copyrighted images. By watermarking each image and then displaying them prominently on the web, they can be sure that their images are used to train neural networks and thus getting their brand promoted by unsuspecting companies that develop ultra-cool AI technologies.

Are stock photography companies worried that they have become obsolete?

Many stock photography companies are certainly thinking about their future as free, public domain media has become increasingly accessible. While companies such as Getty and Shutterstock still maintain a significant market share and return on investment, the ease with which people can now find and use public works for informational or entertainment purposes raises questions about what stock photography companies need to do to survive in the digital age. Such companies have adapted by moving into subscription models to maintain revenue, while trying hard to distribute new, higher quality images that can set them apart from other providers in an intensely competitive industry. Although it remains to be seen if these strategies will secure them a place in our new digital landscape, one thing is certain: stock photography companies need to remain agile if they are going to avoid becoming obsolete.

P.S.: This article was written by Jasper and all images were created using Midjourney.

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Author: Steve Digital