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Getty targets AI image generator in landmark copyright suit

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The case is one of the first copyright disputes over AI-powered image generators and the data used to train them

Getty Images is suing the company behind the artificial intelligence-powered image generator Stable Diffusion for copyright infringement, it was confirmed today, January 17.

A notice of action was filed at the England and Wales High Court yesterday by law firm Fieldfisher on behalf of Getty.

In a statement published today, Getty said Stability AI, the creator of Stable Diffusion, unlawfully copied millions of copyright-protected images and the associated metadata.

Getty said it was willing to provide licences to its images for AI training purposes, but that Stability AI had so far ignored viable licensing options out of its own commercial interest.

The case is one of the first copyright lawsuits over AI-generated images.

On January 13, three artists filed a separate class action suit against a group of AI image developers, including Stability AI at the District Court for the Northern District of California for their alleged misuse of copyright-protected images.

The programs that develop these images rely on training data pulled from the internet.

An analysis of 12 million images used to train Stable Diffusion found that 15,000 came from Getty Images.

A Stability AI spokesperson said: "Please know that we take these matters seriously.

"It is unusual that we have been informed about this intended legal action via the press. We are still awaiting the service of any documents. Should we receive them, we will comment appropriately.”

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