Getty Images has filed a new lawsuit in the U.S. against the company behind Stable Diffusion, an immensely popular AI image creator. And while the photos included in the lawsuit are all about dissecting a notoriously dry subject like copyright infringement, they’re actually really funny.
Getty alleges in the lawsuit that Stability AI has engaged in “brazen infringement of Getty Images’ intellectual property on a staggering scale,” and claims the AI company is effectively trying to start a competing business.
“Stability AI has copied more than 12 million photographs from Getty Images’ collection, along with the associated captions and metadata, without permission from or compensation to Getty Images,” the lawsuit reads.
The suit, first reported by The Verge on Monday, was filed in Delaware on Friday. And reading through the lawsuit, which is available in its entirety online, you’re treated to some pretty odd examples of Stable Diffusion’s image generation. Some of the images even include a warped version of the Getty Images watermark, as you can see in the creations below.
Many of the examples also include hauntingly weird anatomy that’s become a hallmark of bad AI. For example, we see soccer players with their legs in impossibly backwards positions, and humans melting into each other, to create kind of Lovecraftian monstrosity.
Getty even called out the unappealing nature of some of these AI-generated images as hurting its brand, especially when it comes to trademark law. Getty holds several trademarks for its brand, which are listed in the lawsuit.
“Stability AI’s incorporation of Getty Images’ marks into low quality, unappealing, or offensive images dilutes those marks in further violation of federal and state trademark laws,” the lawsuit reads.
This is all serious business, according to Getty, which says it has safeguards in place for protecting the intellectual property of photographers and other creators, and Stability AI shouldn’t be able to train its robots using Getty’s photos for free.
“In appropriate circumstances, and with safeguards for the rights and interests of its photographers and contributors and the subjects of the images in its collection, Getty Images also licenses the use of its visual assets and associated metadata in connection with the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools,” Getty said in the lawsuit.
“Getty Images has licensed millions of suitable digital assets to leading technology innovators for a variety of purposes related to artificial intelligence and machine learning,” the lawsuit continued.
Getty first announced a lawsuit against Stability AI last month in the UK, but apparently that suit hasn’t been served yet. And Getty is far from the only interested party filing suit against AI image generators. Several lawsuits are currently pending against AI generators like Midjourney and DeviantArt as well.
“Getty Images’ name and trademarks are renowned in the U.S. and around the world. Customers perform over 2.7 billion searches annually on the Getty Images’ websites, which exist in 23 languages,” the company explains in the suit.
“Through its full range of content solutions, Getty Images served over 836,000 purchasing customers in the last year alone, with customers from almost every country in the world, ranging from media outlets, advertising agencies, and corporations of all sizes to individual creators. Customers rely on Getty Images for the best content and service, and trust the trademarks and service marks associated with its content,” Getty continued.
I reached out to Getty Images for comment but didn’t immediately hear back. I also reached out to Stability AI. I’ll update this post with any new information or comment either company can provide. Or I’ll update it with more of Stable Diffusion’s weird Frankenphotos. They really are a grotesque imitation of humanity when you look at enough of them.