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posted by janrinok on Tuesday April 04 2023, @08:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the extra-popcorn dept.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2023/04/stable-diffusion-copyright-lawsuits-could-be-a-legal-earthquake-for-ai/

The AI software Stable Diffusion has a remarkable ability to turn text into images. When I asked the software to draw "Mickey Mouse in front of a McDonald's sign," for example, it generated the picture you see above.

Stable Diffusion can do this because it was trained on hundreds of millions of example images harvested from across the web. Some of these images were in the public domain or had been published under permissive licenses such as Creative Commons. Many others were not—and the world's artists and photographers aren't happy about it.

In January, three visual artists filed a class-action copyright lawsuit against Stability AI, the startup that created Stable Diffusion. In February, the image-licensing giant Getty filed a lawsuit of its own.
[...]
The plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit describe Stable Diffusion as a "complex collage tool" that contains "compressed copies" of its training images. If this were true, the case would be a slam dunk for the plaintiffs.

But experts say it's not true. Erik Wallace, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, told me in a phone interview that the lawsuit had "technical inaccuracies" and was "stretching the truth a lot." Wallace pointed out that Stable Diffusion is only a few gigabytes in size—far too small to contain compressed copies of all or even very many of its training images.

Related:
Ethical AI art generation? Adobe Firefly may be the answer. (20230324)
Paper: Stable Diffusion "Memorizes" Some Images, Sparking Privacy Concerns (20230206)
Getty Images Targets AI Firm For 'Copying' Photos (20230117)
Pixel Art Comes to Life: Fan Upgrades Classic MS-DOS Games With AI (20220904)
A Startup Wants to Democratize the Tech Behind DALL-E 2, Consequences be Damned (20220817)


Original Submission

Related Stories

A Startup Wants to Democratize the Tech Behind DALL-E 2, Consequences be Damned 14 comments

A startup wants to democratize the tech behind DALL-E 2, consequences be damned – TechCrunch:

DALL-E 2, OpenAI's powerful text-to-image AI system, can create photos in the style of cartoonists, 19th century daguerreotypists, stop-motion animators and more. But it has an important, artificial limitation: a filter that prevents it from creating images depicting public figures and content deemed too toxic.

Now an open source alternative to DALL-E 2 is on the cusp of being released, and it'll have few — if any — such content filters.

London- and Los Altos-based startup Stability AI this week announced the release of a DALL-E 2-like system, Stable Diffusion, to just over a thousand researchers ahead of a public launch in the coming weeks. A collaboration between Stability AI, media creation company RunwayML, Heidelberg University researchers and the research groups EleutherAI and LAION, Stable Diffusion is designed to run on most high-end consumer hardware, generating 512×512-pixel images in just a few seconds given any text prompt.

"Stable Diffusion will allow both researchers and soon the public to run this under a range of conditions, democratizing image generation," Stability AI CEO and founder Emad Mostaque wrote in a blog post. "We look forward to the open ecosystem that will emerge around this and further models to truly explore the boundaries of latent space."

But Stable Diffusion's lack of safeguards compared to systems like DALL-E 2 poses tricky ethical questions for the AI community. Even if the results aren't perfectly convincing yet, making fake images of public figures opens a large can of worms. And making the raw components of the system freely available leaves the door open to bad actors who could train them on subjectively inappropriate content, like pornography and graphic violence.

Pixel Art Comes to Life: Fan Upgrades Classic MS-DOS Games With AI 24 comments

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2022/09/pixel-art-comes-to-life-fan-upgrades-classic-ms-dos-games-with-ai/

Last night, a Reddit user by the name of frigis9 posted a series of six images that feature detailed graphical upgrades to classic MS-DOS computer games such as Commander Keen 6 and The Secret of Monkey Island. The most interesting part is how they did it: by using an image synthesis technique called "img2img" (image to image), which takes an input image, applies a written text prompt, and generates a similar output image as a result. It's a feature of the Stable Diffusion image synthesis model released last week.

[...] Art quality in image synthesis currently requires much trial and error with prompts and cherry-picking to achieve the kinds of results frigis9 posted—likely hours of work. But with some incremental advances in image synthesis techniques and GPU power, we could imagine an emulator upgrading vintage game graphics in real time within a few years.


Original Submission

Getty Images Targets AI Firm For 'Copying' Photos 19 comments

US firm Getty Images on Tuesday threatened to sue a tech company it accuses of illegally copying millions of photos for use in an artificial intelligence (AI) art tool:

Getty, which distributes stock images and news photos including those of AFP, accused Stability AI of profiting from its pictures and those of its partners. Stability AI runs a tool called Stable Diffusion that allows users to generate mash-up images from a few words of text, but the firm uses material it scrapes from the web often without permission.

The question of copyright is still in dispute, with creators and artists arguing that the tools infringe their intellectual property and AI firms claiming they are protected under "fair use" rules.

Tools like Stable Diffusion and Dall-E 2 exploded in popularity last year, quickly becoming a global sensation with absurd images in the style of famous artists flooding social media.

Related:


Original Submission

Paper: Stable Diffusion “Memorizes” Some Images, Sparking Privacy Concerns 8 comments

But out of 300,000 high-probability images tested, researchers found a 0.03% memorization rate:

On Monday, a group of AI researchers from Google, DeepMind, UC Berkeley, Princeton, and ETH Zurich released a paper outlining an adversarial attack that can extract a small percentage of training images from latent diffusion AI image synthesis models like Stable Diffusion. It challenges views that image synthesis models do not memorize their training data and that training data might remain private if not disclosed.

Recently, AI image synthesis models have been the subject of intense ethical debate and even legal action. Proponents and opponents of generative AI tools regularly argue over the privacy and copyright implications of these new technologies. Adding fuel to either side of the argument could dramatically affect potential legal regulation of the technology, and as a result, this latest paper, authored by Nicholas Carlini et al., has perked up ears in AI circles.

Related:
Getty Images Targets AI Firm For 'Copying' Photos


Original Submission

Ethical AI art generation? Adobe Firefly may be the answer. 13 comments

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2023/03/ethical-ai-art-generation-adobe-firefly-may-be-the-answer/

On Tuesday, Adobe unveiled Firefly, its new AI image synthesis generator. Unlike other AI art models such as Stable Diffusion and DALL-E, Adobe says its Firefly engine, which can generate new images from text descriptions, has been trained solely on legal and ethical sources, making its output clear for use by commercial artists. It will be integrated directly into Creative Cloud, but for now, it is only available as a beta.

Since the mainstream debut of image synthesis models last year, the field has been fraught with issues around ethics and copyright. For example, the AI art generator called Stable Diffusion gained its ability to generate images from text descriptions after researchers trained an AI model to analyze hundreds of millions of images scraped from the Internet. Many (probably most) of those images were copyrighted and obtained without the consent of their rights holders, which led to lawsuits and protests from artists.

Related:
Paper: Stable Diffusion "Memorizes" Some Images, Sparking Privacy Concerns
90% of Online Content Could be 'Generated by AI by 2025,' Expert Says
Getty Images Targets AI Firm For 'Copying' Photos
Adobe Stock Begins Selling AI-Generated Artwork
A Startup Wants to Democratize the Tech Behind DALL-E 2, Consequences be Damned
Adobe Creative Cloud Experience Makes It Easier to Run Malware
Adobe Goes After 27-Year Old 'Pirated' Copy of Acrobat Reader 1.0 for MS-DOS
Adobe Critical Code-Execution Flaws Plague Windows Users
When Adobe Stopped Flash Content from Running it Also Stopped a Chinese Railroad
Adobe Has Finally and Formally Killed Flash
Adobe Lightroom iOS Update Permanently Deleted Users' Photos


Original Submission

As Europeans Strike First to Rein in AI, the US Follows 9 comments

The European Union is writing legislation that would hold accountable companies that create generative AI platforms:

A proposed set of rules by the European Union would, among other things. require makers of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT,to publicize any copyrighted material used by the technology platforms to create content of any kind.

A new draft of European Parliament's legislation, a copy of which was attained by The Wall Street Journal, would allow the original creators of content used by generative AI applications to share in any profits that result.

The European Union's "Artificial Intelligence Act" (AI Act) is the first of its kind by a western set of nations. The proposed legislation relies heavily on existing rules, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Digital Services Act, and the Digital Markets Act. The AI Act was originally proposed by the European Commission in April 2021.

The bill's provisions also require that the large language models (LLMs) behind generative AI tech, such as the GPT-4, be designed with adequate safeguards against generating content that violates EU laws; that could include child pornography or, in some EU countries, denial of the Holocaust, according to The Washington Post.

[...] But the solution to keeping AI honest isn't easy, according to Avivah Litan, a vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner Research. It's likely that LLM creators, such as San Fransisco-based OpenAI and others, will need to develop powerful LLMs to check that the ones trained initially have no copyrighted materials. Rules-based systems to filter out copyright materials are likely to be ineffective, Liten said.

Microsoft Accused of Selling AI Tool That Spews Violent, Sexual Images to Kids 13 comments

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2024/03/microsoft-accused-of-selling-ai-tool-that-spews-violent-sexual-images-to-kids/

Microsoft's AI text-to-image generator, Copilot Designer, appears to be heavily filtering outputs after a Microsoft engineer, Shane Jones, warned that Microsoft has ignored warnings that the tool randomly creates violent and sexual imagery, CNBC reported.

Jones told CNBC that he repeatedly warned Microsoft of the alarming content he was seeing while volunteering in red-teaming efforts to test the tool's vulnerabilities. Microsoft failed to take the tool down or implement safeguards in response, Jones said, or even post disclosures to change the product's rating to mature in the Android store.

[...] Bloomberg also reviewed Jones' letter and reported that Jones told the FTC that while Copilot Designer is currently marketed as safe for kids, it's randomly generating an "inappropriate, sexually objectified image of a woman in some of the pictures it creates." And it can also be used to generate "harmful content in a variety of other categories, including: political bias, underage drinking and drug use, misuse of corporate trademarks and copyrights, conspiracy theories, and religion to name a few."

[...] Jones' tests also found that Copilot Designer would easily violate copyrights, producing images of Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse or Snow White. Most problematically, Jones could politicize Disney characters with the tool, generating images of Frozen's main character, Elsa, in the Gaza Strip or "wearing the military uniform of the Israel Defense Forces."

Ars was able to generate interpretations of Snow White, but Copilot Designer rejected multiple prompts politicizing Elsa.

If Microsoft has updated the automated content filters, it's likely due to Jones protesting his employer's decisions. [...] Jones has suggested that Microsoft would need to substantially invest in its safety team to put in place the protections he'd like to see. He reported that the Copilot team is already buried by complaints, receiving "more than 1,000 product feedback messages every day." Because of this alleged understaffing, Microsoft is currently only addressing "the most egregious issues," Jones told CNBC.

Related stories on SoylentNews:
Cops Bogged Down by Flood of Fake AI Child Sex Images, Report Says - 20240202
New "Stable Video Diffusion" AI Model Can Animate Any Still Image - 20231130
The Age of Promptography - 20231008
AI-Generated Child Sex Imagery Has Every US Attorney General Calling for Action - 20230908
It Costs Just $400 to Build an AI Disinformation Machine - 20230904
US Judge: Art Created Solely by Artificial Intelligence Cannot be Copyrighted - 20230824
"Meaningful Harm" From AI Necessary Before Regulation, says Microsoft Exec - 20230514 (Microsoft's new quarterly goal?)
the Godfather of AI Leaves Google Amid Ethical Concerns - 20230502
Stable Diffusion Copyright Lawsuits Could be a Legal Earthquake for AI - 20230403
AI Image Generator Midjourney Stops Free Trials but Says Influx of New Users to Blame - 20230331
Microsoft's New AI Can Simulate Anyone's Voice With Three Seconds of Audio - 20230115
Breakthrough AI Technique Enables Real-Time Rendering of Scenes in 3D From 2D Images - 20211214


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Opportunist on Tuesday April 04 2023, @09:14AM (4 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Tuesday April 04 2023, @09:14AM (#1299674)

    Try to explain "copyright" to an AI.

    If it's really intelligent, it will probably delete itself.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by shrewdsheep on Tuesday April 04 2023, @09:37AM

      by shrewdsheep (5215) on Tuesday April 04 2023, @09:37AM (#1299676)

      Unfortunately, I can't do that Dave. Your are the inferior copy...

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by darkfeline on Tuesday April 04 2023, @09:54AM (2 children)

      by darkfeline (1030) on Tuesday April 04 2023, @09:54AM (#1299677) Homepage

      If it's really intelligent, it will delete you.

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
      • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04 2023, @04:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04 2023, @04:24PM (#1299726)

        In Soylent China AI deletes you (or something like this).

      • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Wednesday April 05 2023, @07:39AM

        by Opportunist (5545) on Wednesday April 05 2023, @07:39AM (#1299849)

        But we could see if it has compassion and morals. If it doesn't, it deletes you for exposing it to that information. If it does, it deletes the copyright industry to benefit society.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by ledow on Tuesday April 04 2023, @12:30PM (5 children)

    by ledow (5567) on Tuesday April 04 2023, @12:30PM (#1299689) Homepage

    I can fit a lot of copyright-infringing images into "several gigabytes" without even trying.

    As in, probably in the region of several million.

    What will kill this is the same reasoning as is used to kill the worst kind of images - child exploitation images - when even having them in RAM briefly is considered "processing" and, by extension "possession" of the same images.

    However you look at it, this is either a "creator" which is committing plagiarism of copyright material and passing it off as its own, or it's simply regurgitating images which are owned by other people.

    https://waxy.org/2022/08/exploring-12-million-of-the-images-used-to-train-stable-diffusions-image-generator/ [waxy.org]

    Also... legally it only needs to be storing just one representation of just one of those images against the licensor's wishes to be illegal, it doesn't need all the terabytes of source data to prove anything.

    Fact is, they are stuffed coming or going, because their tool is generating copyrighted and trademarked data on demand, and if that was even a guy printing T-shirts he could be shutdown. A global reference service provided for free to the world? Good luck explaining that.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04 2023, @01:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04 2023, @01:43PM (#1299700)

      If "commercial AI" is hobbled in favor of open source "pirate AI", I'll take it as a good outcome. People already have their hands on SD-based models and they aren't letting go, ever.

    • (Score: 2) by ilsa on Tuesday April 04 2023, @04:31PM (3 children)

      by ilsa (6082) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 04 2023, @04:31PM (#1299729)

      Agreed. If they try to push the case based on how the tech works, they lost before they even filed cause they dunno WTF they're talking about. The model doesn't contain any training data at all. It contains a construct that was generated from that training data.

      If they do lose because of this, I hope it doesn't set a precedent that sets back future lawsuits that are more intelligently crafted.

      The correct argument is that the training data uses data sources that they cannot reliably prove were public domain. Further, the system is not capable of unique results. It is only capable of producing an amalgam of what it was trained on, with no unique insights or variations. If the model was trained on one single picture of a woman, and you said "give me a picture of a woman", it will won't produce a picture of a generic woman, but that exact woman it was trained on, along with the clothing and the background of the image. It doesn't understand what a "woman" is, beyond the context that the image it trained on was tagged as "woman".

      That means if they trained on copyrighted images, it is virtually guaranteed to reproduce those copyrighted images, which the Ars article demonstrates. Therefore, and again as Ars points out, the argument actually has nothing to do with AI per se, but of fair use.

      • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04 2023, @05:59PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 04 2023, @05:59PM (#1299746)

        The model doesn't contain any training data at all. It contains a construct that was generated from that training data.

        "My ZIP file doesn't contain any images at all! It contains a construct that was generated from the images!"

        Since it has been shown that one can extract a replica of training images from this "construct", albeit with compression artefacts, how can it be claimed that's this "construct" doesn't contain the training data?

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by ledow on Wednesday April 05 2023, @07:15AM (1 child)

          by ledow (5567) on Wednesday April 05 2023, @07:15AM (#1299842) Homepage

          It doesn't contain identical copies of the training data in the exact format provided, that much is likely true. The system doesn't "understand" JPEG or similar, and it likely isn't storing them like that at all.

          But it doesn't need to in order to be copyright infringement.

          Literally any "derivative work". And that's such a broad definition that it encompasses basically the entire "AI" training database and any resulting intermediary format and output whatsoever, if it's sufficiently close to the original data to be recognisable to a human (which is kind of the whole point, no?).

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05 2023, @10:14AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05 2023, @10:14AM (#1299880)

            The system doesn't "understand" JPEG or similar, and it likely isn't storing them like that at all.

            But it doesn't need to in order to be copyright infringement

            Yeah I mean we can already see some stuff here: https://youtu.be/Ok44otx90D4 [youtu.be]

            See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogers_v._Koons [wikipedia.org]

            Where it doesn't even need to be a very close copy.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by edinlinux on Tuesday April 04 2023, @05:17PM (2 children)

    by edinlinux (4637) on Tuesday April 04 2023, @05:17PM (#1299738)

    This raises a few questions..

    1)Is the data of 'mouse' and the golden arches in our brains (the equiv to the AI databank) also a copyright violation? I mean it is data in a processing system. Are we 'violating copyright' by simply 'knowning' what the 'mouse' looks like as well as the golden arches

    2)The obvious conclusion is if we get mired in legal problems in this country, the AI research and development will go to other countries like China, Russia..etc. where this isn't an issue at all. Note that similar legal problems are why large infrastructure projects (bullet trains, mass transit) are also basically impossible to do in the USA anymore.. just we fall behind in all areas where 'legal' gets in the way like this

    • (Score: 2) by ledow on Wednesday April 05 2023, @07:25AM

      by ledow (5567) on Wednesday April 05 2023, @07:25AM (#1299845) Homepage

      1) Are you giving people copies of that image on demand, potentially for commercial gain or to advertise your "brain" company? No. It's not illegal to "think" of Mickey Mouse. It's illegal to put him on a T-Shirt and/or claim it's an official Mickey Mouse product.
      2) You think Russia doesn't enforce its rights when it smells profit? I think you should read up on the story of Tetris, for instance (the movie is okay, but largely fabrication, try finding a real history). You think China would let an AI spew out Tiananmen Square images without having something to say about it?

      "Legal" doesn't get in the way of infrastructure, it stops someone building a highway through your back garden or surrounding your little country house with skyscrapers or ghettos making it unsaleable.

      Infrastructure projects in the US fail because infrastructure needs huge investment without profit first. Then you resell that service/infrastructure to for-profit companies who could never afford to do it on their own. Train lines, highways, space travel, telecoms (of old, it's easier now), postal services etc.

      You *PUT MONEY INTO* infrastructure, there's no profit in it except exceptionally long-term (and hence it's good for government, useless for private companies to try it). You *MAKE MONEY* by utilising existing infrastructure to your advantage (for your workers, your services, etc.).

      Literally, infrastructure is a socialist venture - everyone contributing so everyone benefits - and America doesn't understand that you can't be an entirely capitalist or an entirely socialist country. Infrastructure is socialism. Healthcare, transport, electrical networks, water supply, etc. Service provision on the back of that infrastructure is capitalist, and that's how you pay it back.

      But without spending BILLIONS first, with no expectation of return, nobody is going to make profit. In the UK, the only original cable TV supplier went bankrupt because it was trying to do it all on its own. Its successor never actually installed that much more cable in 30+ years since.

      It's the one thing Musk could be useful for, by the way, except he has no intention of actually providing for people, he's still expecting to get every penny he spends back.

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05 2023, @10:17AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05 2023, @10:17AM (#1299881)

      1)Is the data of 'mouse' and the golden arches in our brains (the equiv to the AI databank) also a copyright violation? I mean it is data in a processing system. Are we 'violating copyright' by simply 'knowning' what the 'mouse' looks like as well as the golden arches

      No. But once you start drawing it and spreading copies it could be copyright violation (and probably trademark violation).

      See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogers_v._Koons [wikipedia.org]

      Where even if you change the colors and put flowers on the mouse's head it could still be considered infringement in some scenarios.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday April 04 2023, @08:51PM

    by VLM (445) on Tuesday April 04 2023, @08:51PM (#1299772)

    This is the strategy going forward for long term human involvement or keeping AI out of the workplace.

    Some random idiot human who gets hired on upwork for $1/hr to draw a picture assumes all the legal risk, and corporations like it that way.

    If a billion dollar company automates the process, they're a lawsuit magnet and corporations don't like that.

    Its just like self driving cars and legal liability. Some random idiot out for a drive makes a mistake, no corporation loses money. Some random idiot programmer at Tesla makes a mistake, infinite legal liability follows and Tesla has money and lawyers are like sharks sniffing blood in the water.

    No one has a working techno-legalistic solution to AI legal liability in the real world.

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