This Sudbury, Ontario-based illustrator learned that an AI is using his art without his consent

As art created by artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more popular, the Sudbury, Ont., illustrator says. He was surprised to find his work reflected in some programs without his permission.

Marc Janney makes a living as a full-time illustrator and multimedia artist through his work, Mindmelt Studio.

While searching a celebrity database, he discovered one of his photos, complete with a watermark he added when he posted it on his website. With more searches, Jani said, he found dozens of uses for his work in AI-generated artwork.

Artificial intelligence tools such as DALE-E And Medjourney Use natural language processing to understand written input and translate it into images.

To build those images, they draw on extensive databases of existing visuals to create derivative images in seconds.

“At this point, it’s really hard to say definitively how this will affect my career,” said Jani.

“I mean, it’s definitely annoying. Suppose if someone wants to get a picture of a book they’re publishing, for example. Instead of coming to me and paying me to commission a piece of artwork for that book cover, just enter some keyword into an AI art generator. “

compensation issue

Jani noted that there are ongoing lawsuits against some of the companies that run AI art generators because the artists alleged that they used their work without permission or proper compensation.

A collage of several drawings with three circled in white.
Jani says he’s found some of his work, circled, and it’s popping up in searches for AI art generators. (Submitted by Mark Jani)

Most notably, Getty Images, a multimedia company with a library of millions of photos and videos, is suing a company called Stability AI.

in Media release On January 17, Getty Images alleged that “the Stability AI organization has unlawfully copied and manipulated millions of copyrighted images and associated metadata owned by or represented by Getty Images in the absence of a license for the benefit of Stability AI’s commercial interests and at the expense of the content creators.” “

Jani said AI companies should make it easier for artists to opt out if they don’t want their work to be used by art generators.

He added that the “Spotify model”, now common in music streaming, can also be applied to visual art. Each time the AI ​​generator points to one of its pieces, it will receive a small amount of money.

There is a sense that these AI systems can kind of produce anything in a very short period of time.– Aaron Langell, Professor of Game Design at Cambrian College

The Spotify model is problematic for most artists, said Jesse Hirsch, futurist and technology consultant, because only those at the top benefit from it.

“Only Taylor Swift and the Rolling Stones in the world get paid by streaming services, because a fraction of a penny is such a tiny fraction that only the most popular people can make a living,” Hirsch said.

Hirsch said the legislation is needed for more “algorithmic transparency,” which would force companies like OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT and DALE-E, to be transparent with creators and make it easier for them to opt out of their models.

Recognize content generated by artificial intelligence

Outside of copyright issues, Hirsch said, art created by AI would devalue art made by human creators.

“If, for example, it took an artist a few years to produce a graphic novel traditionally, but now someone else is able to create a graphic novel in a week, that could change the publishing industry as they no longer have the patience for the willful, persistent, and cautious artist.” on how to build her art.”

Aaron Langill, who teaches game design at Cambrian College in Sudbury, says he’s seen some creative companies announce they don’t use AI to create their content, to differentiate themselves from competitors. (Marcus Schwab/CBC)

Aaron L’Engel teaches video game design at Cambrian-Sudbury College and has similar concerns.

“There’s a sense that these AI systems can kind of produce anything in a very, very short period of time,” he said.

“So I think artists are uncomfortable with this, I think that’s a totally justified reaction to this. I think the worrying part is I don’t think those are going to go away.”

Langell said he can see some creative companies announcing that they don’t use AI to create their content, to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

While he said he has had informal discussions with his students about AI-generated content, he can see it becoming part of the curriculum as it becomes a more important tool for content creators.

“We certainly wouldn’t pitch it as a way to cut jobs or reduce the human factor, but perhaps to reduce some of the pressure on the humans designing the game,” Langel said.

when asked before Morning North What he plans to do now that he’s found out his work is being used without his permission Jani said: “You don’t have much protection even with watermarks etc. It’s definitely in the back of my mind now that every time I upload something it could be scraped by AI.”

“I don’t know what the easy answer is for something like that.”

listen | Marc Janney talks about his “sweet and cute” art and the difficulty of protecting his creations:

Morning North7:39A Sudbury-based multimedia artist says apps that use AI to create images are stealing his work

The debate continues about whether applications that use AI help or hinder. Sudbury-based multimedia artist Marc Gagner recently discovered that his original artwork was being removed from the web for use in image creation applications. Join us to talk about this issue.

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