AI image generator hit by $1.8 trillion lawsuit from Getty Images

The stock image agency claims that over 12 million copyrighted images—along with their descriptions and metadata— were used to train Stable Diffusion, an AI image creator.
Baba Tamim
Left: Original Getty image. Right: AI image generated by Stable Diffusion with distorted logo.
Left: Original Getty image. Right: AI image generated by Stable Diffusion with distorted logo.

Getty Lawsuit 

Getty Images, a global stock photo giant, has filed a lawsuit against Stability AI, the business that created the well-known AI image generator Stable Diffusion.

The stock agency claims that over 12 million of its copyrighted images—along with their descriptions and metadata were used to train Stable Diffusion, seeking $1.8 trillion in compensation, according to the lawsuit made public on Monday.

"Getty Images Claims Stable Diffusion Has Stolen 12 Million Copyrighted Images. Demands $150,000 For Each Image," AI expert Barsee wrote on Twitter. 

"That's nearly $2 trillion, btw, which only makes copyright look ridiculous in the end," he said. 

A Twitter user, while replying in the thread of Tweets, said, "AI took their whole business. Instead of innovating, they [Getty Images] are getting salty. 

Meanwhile, Images created by Stable Diffusion can replicate the easily recognized Getty watermark, providing damning proof that Stability AI did browse the Getty library.

Impact on how AI image creators

Getty Images has demanded up to $150,000 for each infringement image in addition to the removal of the infringing images and damages for copyright law violations.

Over 7,000 photos and their metadata are listed in the lawsuit by the corporation. The action comes after Getty filed its complaint against Stability AI in a London court last month.

The LAION dataset, an open-source effort that downloaded billions of photos from the internet for AI generation, served as the training ground for Stable Diffusion.

These technologies can nevertheless replicate the work of photographers and painters even though they are designed to produce new images.

The lawsuit also asserts that Stable Diffusion produces photographs with a distorted Getty watermark and that Stability AI failed to take any action to stop this from happening.

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"Often, the output generated by Stable Diffusion contains a modified version of a Getty Images watermark, creating confusion as to the source of the images and falsely implying an association with Getty Images," Getty said in the lawsuit.

The image wire agency contends that this harms its reputation and that logos are not protected by copyright. 

The lawsuit - Damaging brand identity

Last week, the matter was brought before a Delaware court, where the astounding compensation sought was made public. Getty has described the alleged theft as "brazen" and "on a startling scale."

The lawsuit against Stability AI may greatly impact how AI image creators operate in the future. These legal battles could influence the development of generative AI as it develops further.

However, it is doubtful that Getty will actually receive this sum because it is starting out high and expecting to negotiate a lesser price.

Stability AI is yet to respond to media inquiries about its legal strategy against the Getty Images lawsuit.

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