California Judge turns down a lawsuit by artists against AI firms in copyright battle

California judge trims lawsuit by artists against Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt, alleging misuse of their copyrighted work in AI systems. Some claims were dismissed, but artists can amend their complaint.

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In a California federal court, a judge turned down a lawsuit brought by visual artists against Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt. The artists alleged that these companies misused their copyrighted content in connection with generative AI systems. While some claims against Midjourney and DeviantArt were dismissed, the artists can amend their complaints. Additionally, copyright infringement claims by certain artists were rejected.

However, Sarah Andersen, one of the artists, can pursue her primary claim, asserting that Stability AI utilized her work to train its AI, which may potentially infringe her copyrights. The judge indicated that determining the veracity of these allegations would require further examination. Other claims, including accusations of violating publicity rights and engaging in unfair competition, were also dismissed. The case remains ongoing.

Why does it matter?

With the swift progress of AI, the distinction between human and machine creativity becomes increasingly unclear, giving rise to intricate issues related to intellectual property rights (IPR). Policymakers are confronted with the daunting choice of extending IP protection in this context. As AI evolves, it presents substantial legal and ethical dilemmas as it disrupts conventional notions of authorship and ownership. While venturing into this uncharted digital landscape, it becomes clear that striking a balance between fostering AI innovation and safeguarding IPR is paramount.

A more thorough analysis by Digital Watch Observatory on this matter can be found here.