Visual media company Getty Images accused Stability AI Inc. of using more than 12 million Getty photos without permission or compensation—the latest copyright and trademark lawsuit against the use of artificial intelligence tools to generate art.
The complaint, filed Feb. 3 in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, follows IP litigation that Getty brought against Stability AI last month in the UK.
Stability AI unlawfully used Getty’s copyrighted images and associated text and meta-data to train its AI text-to-image tool Stable Diffusion, the most recent lawsuit says.
The case is one of several addressing the murky legal IP landscape brought on by the rise of AI applications. These lawsuits—including a first -of-its-kind infringement suit filed earlier this year, also against Stability AI—raise new copyright questions, including whether AI creators can be held accountable for their use of existing copyrighted works to train their AI generators.
Getty alleges that the infringement of its content “on a massive scale has been instrumental to” Stability AI’s success. It said the output generated by Stable Diffusion sometimes removes Getty’s watermark of its name, but more often contains a modified version of it or lowers image quality. That violates trademark law and dilutes its mark, it said.
Getty also claimed that Stability AI benefited from the accuracy and detail of its image-text pairing to train Stable Diffusion.
“Stable Diffusion at times produces images that are highly similar to and derivative of the Getty Images proprietary content that Stability AI copied extensively in the course of training the model,” the complaint said.
It argued that Stability AI is stealing a service that Getty already provides through their licensing of digital assets for AI and machine learning purposes, and thereby deprives Getty and its contributors of fair compensation.
Cause of Action: Copyright infringement, false copyright management information, removal or alteration of copyright management information, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, deceptive trade practices.
Relief: Permanent injunction; destruction of all versions of Stable Diffusion trained on Getty’s images; damages and profits trebled; statutory damages; costs and attorneys’ fees; pre-and-post judgment interest; jury trial.
Response: Getty Images declined to comment on the lawsuit. Stability AI didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Attorneys: Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP represent Getty. Attorneys haven’t yet entered an appearance for Stability AI.
The case is Getty Images (US), Inc. v Stability AI, Inc., D. Del., No. 1:99-mc-09999, filed 2/3/23.
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