Getty Images sues AI art generator Stable Diffusion in the US for copyright infringement

Two side by side images show soccer players fighting for a ball. The left is a real photograph but the right is an AI-generated version, with distortion of the players’ bodies and faces.
An illustration from Getty Images’ lawsuit, showing an original photograph and a similar image (complete with Getty Images watermark) generated by Stable Diffusion. | Image: Getty Images

Getty Images has filed a lawsuit in the US against Stability AI, creators of open-source AI art generator Stable Diffusion, escalating its legal battle against the firm.

The stock photography company is accusing Stability AI of “brazen infringement of Getty Images’ intellectual property on a staggering scale.” It claims that Stability AI copied more than 12 million images from its database “without permission … or compensation … as part of its efforts to build a competing business,” and that the startup has infringed on both the company’s copyright and trademark protections.

The lawsuit is the latest volley in the ongoing legal struggle between the creators of AI art generators and rights-holders. AI art tools require illustrations,…

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