Getty Images, a renowned stock photography collection, is navigating the landscape of artificial intelligence (AI) in two distinct ways. Earlier this year, the Seattle-based company initiated legal proceedings against a prominent provider of AI-generated images, accusing them of “brazen infringement” on a massive scale. In parallel, Getty Images is venturing into the realm of AI image creation, offering a new service that empowers its clientele to generate unique images based on Getty’s extensive repository of human-captured photographs.
AI-Powered Image Generation by Getty Images
The new service, known as “Generative AI by Getty Images,” aims to provide a commercially viable solution for business clients while addressing concerns about intellectual property and creator rights. Unlike some earlier AI image generators that raised ethical and legal questions, this service relies on Getty’s vast library of human-made photos for training, rather than gathering data from the open internet without proper authorization.
Getty Images CEO Craig Peters emphasized that the new offering is designed to uphold creator rights and respect copyright, unlike some of the pioneering AI-generated imagery services. These include OpenAI’s DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stability AI, which has faced legal action from Getty for alleged copyright infringement.
Getty’s Lawsuit against Stability AI
Earlier this year, Getty Images filed a lawsuit against London-based Stability AI, accusing the company of unauthorized copying of over 12 million photographs, along with captions and metadata, from Getty’s collection. The lawsuit seeks damages of up to $150,000 for each infringed work, potentially amounting to $1.8 trillion in total. The legal battle between Getty Images and Stability AI is ongoing in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
Collaboration with Nvidia and Intellectual Property Safeguards
Getty’s Generative AI service emerged from a longstanding partnership with California-based tech company Nvidia. The collaboration predates Getty’s legal challenges against Stability AI and leverages Nvidia’s AI model called Edify from its generative AI division, Picasso. One of the primary goals of this service is to offer “full indemnification for commercial use,” assuaging concerns about intellectual property risks associated with generative AI tools.
Getty contributors, whose images are included in the training set for Generative AI, will receive compensation as part of royalty obligations, ensuring they share in the revenue generated over time.
Target Audience and Limitations
The service is primarily geared toward brands seeking marketing materials and creative imagery, placing Getty in competition with rivals such as Shutterstock and Adobe. It is not intended for those seeking photojournalism or editorial content, areas where Getty competes with news organizations like The Associated Press.
Additionally, the Generative AI model has safeguards in place to prevent the generation of “deepfake” images that could be politically harmful. It automatically blocks requests involving recognizable individuals or brands, ensuring responsible and ethical use of the technology.
Getty Images emphasizes that AI-generated content will not be integrated into its existing content libraries, which will continue to feature “real people doing real things in real places.”