Copyright Holders are Fearful that AI Bots will Steal Their Work and Ignore Attribution

Interest in AI-generated content and images, such as those generated by ChatGPT, are exploding. So is the risk of massive IP infringement.

These models, from OpenAI and other providers, which can create images based on a text prompt, offer users new possibilities, including the right to use their output for commercial purposes.

“Users get full usage rights to commercialise the images they create with DALL-E, including the right to reprint, sell and merchandise,” said OpenAI as reported in siliconpublic.

Whether or not this is because the content they draw on is under license or in the public domain is unclear.

Who Owns What? 

Legal concerns have been raised around these AI-generated images, such as who truly owns them and if they might infringe on existing copyrighted works.

Text-to-image generators such as DALL-E, Stable Diffusion and Midjourney are able to understand the relationship between an image and the words used to describe it.

Without making the dataset public, there is concern that
copyrighted material could be contained within it

When a user types in a text prompt, these AI models are able to create an image based on how they interpret the text, combining different concepts, attributes and styles. To make this possible, the models are trained using a massive amount of images, many of them protected under copyright law.

Without making the dataset public, there is concern that copyrighted material could be within it. OpenAI said in a GitHub post in April that it had taken measures to prevent copyright issues from occurring.

In a statement from OpenAI’s (the owner of DALL-E) spokesperson said “OpenAI retains ownership of the original image primarily so that we can better enforce our content policy.”

However, the problem with this statement, reports Legalese, is that it does not simply answer how it is owned by OpenAI nor how users are able to utilise the image.

GitHub parent, Microsoft, has invested more than $10 billion in OpenAI.

[Left: IP lawyer Wynton Yates warns content creators about AI and bots.]

Yet to be Determined

Commercial use of AI results that use copyrighted content is unclear. Trademark, trade secret and even patent infringement may also be a possibility when relying on an AI search, such as a chatbot. Chatbots tend to aggregate with little or no consideration of source, ownership or licensing.

Copyright concerns have led photography and stock images supplier Getty Images Holdings Inc. to announce in September that it would ban the sale of AI-generated images.

Image source: Society of Illustrators;

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