Generative AI and Artist Compensation: An Opaque Landscape

Generative AI and Artist Compensation: An Opaque Landscape
Generative AI and Artist Compensation: An Opaque Landscape

The advent of generative AI technology has stirred a hornet's nest in copyright and artist compensation. As tech giants monetize this cutting-edge technology, a growing chorus of creators is clamoring for their fair share. However, the industry remains tight-lipped about the specifics of artist compensation, leading to widespread discontent and legal battles.

"In the world of generative AI, transparency and fairness in artist compensation remain elusive."

The Controversy

The issue came to the fore with the publication of an open letter by the Authors Guild, signed by more than 8,500 writers, including acclaimed authors like Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, and Jodi Picoult. The letter demanded generative AI companies only use the authors' works with proper authorization and compensation. This sentiment is echoed by artists who have filed numerous lawsuits against generative AI vendors such as Stability AI, MidJourney, and Microsoft, alleging copyright infringement and misuse.

Generative AI and Artist Compensation

Several vendors have pledged to establish "creators' funds" and other mechanisms to compensate artists, authors, and musicians whose works have been used to develop their generative AI models. Some have even gone a step further and launched these funds, touting them as a move towards more equitable, sustainable, generative AI business models. But the question on every creator's mind remains - how much can they expect to make from these funds?

Unfortunately, this simple question isn't easy to answer. The terms and conditions surrounding artist compensation in the generative AI industry could be more specific, and tech companies have yet to be more forthcoming about the specifics.

Generative AI and Copyright

Generative AI models "learn" to create images, music, text, and other forms of media by identifying patterns in a vast number of examples, often sourced from the freely accessible web. These examples are typically copyrighted or published under usage licenses that vendors tend to disregard. This has led to a wave of criticism, with public opinion essentially siding with creators, who often make very little compared to the billions tech and AI companies are raking in.

Company Responses and Initiatives

Some companies, including Adobe, Getty Images, Stability AI, and YouTube, have introduced or announced plans for revenue-sharing models to allow creators to share in their generative AI profits. However, these companies must be more explicit about how much creators can expect to earn, leading to uncertainty and dissatisfaction.

Adobe, for instance, has announced a yearly "bonus" for each contributor based on the total number of approved images, vectors, or illustrations submitted to Adobe Stock and the "number of licenses" their ideas generated during a year-long period. However, the exact value of each approved print and license remains undisclosed.

A Glimpse into the Future?

While the landscape of artist compensation in the generative AI industry is murky, some startups are trying to be more transparent and creator-focused. Braia, a company that trains its art-generating AI strictly on licensed images, has implemented a revenue-sharing model that rewards data owners based on their contributions' impact, allowing artists to set prices on a per-AI-training-run basis.

However, as it stands now, only some vendors are making a compelling case that it'll be worth artists' while if they opt into generative AI model training. The promises of future riches still need to be clarified, and the industry has a long way to go in ensuring fair compensation for creators.

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Michael Terry

Michael Terry

Greetings, esteemed individuals. I would like to take this opportunity to formally introduce myself as Michael O Terry, an expert in the field of artificial intelligence. My area of specialization revolves around comprehending the impact of artificial intelligence on human beings, analyzing its potential for development, and forecasting what the future holds for us. It is my pleasure to be of service and share my knowledge and insights with you all.