Artists Unite: Protecting Creativity in the Age of AI

Are you an artist who’s tired of watching your creativity be commandeered by artificial intelligence without your say? You’re not alone.

For over a year, artists have been clashing with tech giants that use their original art to train AI image generators, such as the lifelike Midjourney and the advanced DALL-E 3. Without consent or pay, artists and creators are finding their works fueling the very systems that might undermine their value.

The tide, however, might be turning. President Biden’s recent executive order on AI has set the stage for potential change. A promise has been made: to seriously consider the copyright issues raised by the pervasive use of AI. Specifically, the order states, “The recommendations shall address any copyright and related issues discussed in the United States Copyright Office’s study, including the scope of protection for works produced using AI and the treatment of copyrighted works in AI training.”

The Copyright Office, post-public commentary period, is on the clock to consult with Biden and deliver recommendations within the next six to nine months. Will this lead to a future where artists can actually shield their works from being data fodder? That’s the looming question.

Yet, for now, artists are stuck in a frustrating loop. The opt-out system in place is both tedious and retrospective—leaving past creations vulnerable. With over 160 million opt-out requests to Stability AI alone, the issue’s scale is staggering. And legal avenues? There are several pending cases for copyright infringement against major AI companies, but it’s an uphill battle. Current copyright laws don’t protect ‘style’, and the line between influence and infringement remains blurred. Legal action and regulations resulting from Biden’s executive order that I discuss in episode 85 might eventually clear up this issue.

With all the above in mind, I believe the bigger picture hints at a future where stronger copyright laws could inadvertently favor the tech titans capable of navigating and funding compliance. Could such shifts in regulation stifle innovation and leave small players out in the cold?

As the bureaucratic wheels spin slowly, artists aren’t just waiting in the wings. They’re actively crafting ingenious methods to outsmart AI’s grasp. New tools like Glaze and Nightshade modify images in subtle ways, disrupting AI’s ability to ‘learn’ from them. Could these tools be the game-changer, tilting power back towards the creators?

So, what’s at stake for AI companies? Innovation thrives on the fuel of fresh, original art. Without the cooperation and contribution of artists, could AI’s progress stall? As an entrepreneur, creator, or artist, how do you see this battle unfolding? What steps would you take, or do you feel still need to be taken, to protect your intellectual property?

The path forward isn’t just about legal battles—it’s about rethinking the relationship between AI and art. It’s time for AI companies to recognize the backbone of their advancements: the artists. Without a fair system, AI risks losing not just its integrity but its brilliance. And to those creators out there, feeling the sting of seeing their work replicated with impunity, the call to action is clear: stay inventive, stay assertive, and above all, stay tuned for the next chapter in this evolving saga.

The Web3, AI and Metaverse Legal and Business Podcast

Episode page:

Listen on Apple Podcasts:

Listen on Spotify: