Shutterstock collaborates with OpenAI to start selling AI-generated art

The stock photography company will incorporate AI-generated content into its website using Open-AI's DALL-E image generator.
Brittney Grimes
A person with a pen drawing and working with creative artificial Intelligence.
A person with a pen drawing and working with creative artificial Intelligence.

Igor Kutyaev/iStock 

Shutterstock recently announced that it will partner with OpenAI to start selling content created using artificial intelligence software.

Text-to-image AI technology

The stock image company is incorporating OpenAI’s text-to-image prototype DALL-E into its content, allowing users to create images based on words they type into the software. Shutterstock will allow users to receive direct access DALL-E through its website.

Shutterstock and Open-AI past and present collaboration

Shutterstock began its partnership with OpenAI starting in 2021. During that time, Shutterstock sold images to OpenAI to help create DALL-E. “The data we licensed from Shutterstock was critical to the training of DALL-E,” said Sam Altman, CEO at OpenAI.

Since partnering, the two companies are working as a team to both combine the technology and input text needed to create art, while generating OpenAI’s output of new and creative art using artificial intelligence to use for the stock image company.

“We’re excited for Shutterstock to offer DALL-E images to its customers as one of the first deployments through our API, and we look forward to future collaborations as artificial intelligence becomes an integral part of artists’ creative workflows,” Altman said.

AI-generated content creation

The images created by artificial intelligence are formed when the machine learning technology has been given information by creators through written words. The software then “learns” from the datasets. Each result from the AI-generated art differs greatly.

Art is evolving through AI

The art created by artificial intelligence is developing and advancing in numerous ways, thanks to machine learning and novel technology.

“The mediums to express creativity are constantly evolving and expanding. We recognize that it is our great responsibility to embrace this evolution and to ensure that the generative technology that drives innovation is grounded in ethical practices,” said Paul Hennessy, chief executive officer at Shutterstock. “And we're committed to developing best practices and experiences to deliver on our purpose, which is to empower the world to create with confidence.”

Although the art is AI-generated, the company also believes in protecting copyright and intellectual property (IP) rights of its creators. “Shutterstock continues to lead in developing policy and procedures and employs methods to ensure that usage rights and proper licenses are secured for all featured content — including AI-generated content,” the company said.

Compensation for AI artists

Along with the innovative collaboration, Shutterstock also launched a fund that will be used to compensate artists for their work. The company said contributors would receive a portion of royalties when their AI-generated art is used. It mentioned that it aims to remain transparent towards its creators regarding art contribution and wants to create a new industry standard for the artists. It hopes to create new “revenue streams” and income opportunities for its users.

Shutterstock also sees the collaboration as a win-win situation for the company and for the creators, allowing contributors to be compensated for the role their AI-generated art played in further developing the digital technology.

AI-generated art seems to be advancing at an extremely fast pace. Through machine learning and human interactive text, the software can generate content quickly, sufficiently and with endless possibilities.

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