Shutterstock partners with OpenAI to sell AI-generated artwork and compensate artists

Shutterstock partners with OpenAI to sell AI-generated artwork and compensate artists

The Shutterstock logo on an image generated by DALL-E.
Enlarge / The Shutterstock logo on an image generated by DALL-E.

Shutterstock / OpenAI

Today, Shutterstock announced its partnership with OpenAI to provide AI image synthesis services using the DALL-E API. Once the service is available, the company says it will allow customers to generate images based on text prompts. Responding to prevailing ethical criticisms of AI-generated artwork, Shutterstock also says it will reward artists “whose artwork has helped develop AI models.”

DALL-E is a commercial deep learning image synthesis product created by OpenAI that can generate new images in almost any art style based on textual descriptions (called “prompts”) by the person who wants to create the image. If you type “an astronaut on horseback”, DALL-E will create an image of an astronaut on horseback.

DALL-E and other CGI models, such as Midjourney and Stable Diffusion, have elicited a passionate response from artists who fear their livelihoods will be threatened by the new technology. Additionally, computer-generated imagery models have “learned” to generate images by analyzing the work of human artists found on the web without the artist’s consent.

The new partnership with OpenAI will bring DALL-E’s AI image generation capability (available separately from OpenAI) to Shutterstock.com itself, so the site’s customers can create new images that might not be present in the library of photographs and works of art of the site. .

Shutterstock’s announcement came in the form of a press release, also reported by The Verge. In the release, a statement from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman revealed that the company had obtained an imagery license from Shutterstock to form DALL-E starting in 2021. “The data we obtained under license from Shutterstock were essential to the formation of DALL-E,” Altman said. To our knowledge, OpenAI has not yet disclosed whether they have licensed any training material or if it came entirely from unauthorized web scrapings.

Even though Shutterstock publicly embraces AI generation and editing tools, The Verge reports that the company won’t allow contributors to sell AI-generated artwork that wasn’t created at home. using its partnership with OpenAI, citing copyright issues regarding the provenance of images used to form non-DALL-E image models.

Remuneration of artists

A DALL-E example of
Enlarge / A DALL-E example of “an astronaut on horseback”.

Open AI

In light of the widespread ethical concerns raised by artists, Shutterstock appears to have framed its announcement message to potentially deflect criticism from its embrace of AI synthesis. For example, when the DALL-E integration launches on Shutterstock.com in “the coming months,” Shutterstock says contributors will be “compensated for the role their content has played in the development of this technology.”

Shutterstock’s statement didn’t provide further details on how the compensation system works, but James Vincent of The Verge spoke to a Shutterstock spokesperson who described a “revenue-sharing compensation model.” in which Shutterstock contributors whose content helped train generative models will receive “a share of the total contract value paid by platform partners” in proportion to the amount of their content in “purchased datasets”. Payments will take place every six months. This sets up a system by which Shutterstock can license its catalog of photos and artwork to companies like OpenAI to train their models.

Meanwhile, while Shutterstock is moving towards selling AI-generated artwork with open arms, competitor Getty Images is taking a different approach, as reported by The Verge in a separate article. In an interview with the outlet, Getty Images CEO Craig Peters expressed caution about adopting AI-generated artwork too quickly due to unrelated copyright issues. resolved. “I think we’re seeing some organizations, individuals, and companies being reckless,” Peters said. “I think it’s dangerous. I don’t think it’s responsible. I think it could be illegal.”

Getty Images banned the sale of AI-generated artwork through its service in September, but The Verge reports that Getty is partnering with an Israeli company called Bria to provide AI-powered editing tools which can alter the content of existing images, such as changing a person’s expression or skin color. Expect more moves from artists and competitors as the community reacts to news in this rapidly developing field.

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