The suit claims that Stable Diffusion was trained on billions of images scraped from the internet without consent, including images owned by this trio of artists. If products and services powered by generative AI products are allowed to operate, a press release by Saveri says, “the foreseeable result is that they will replace the very artists whose stolen works power these AI products with whom they are competing.”
Ortiz, a concept illustrator who has worked on video games and Hollywood blockbusters like Jurassic World and Dr. Strange, told BuzzFeed News that making art was “her happy place.” She added that she’s obsessed with technology.
In early 2021, Ortiz stumbled upon DiscoDiffusion, an earlier text-to-image AI generator, and found out that the tool was capable of generating images in her style and in the styles of other artists she knew. “It felt invasive in a way that I have never experienced,” she said.
Concerned, she started organizing town halls around the topic with the Concept Artists Association, an organization for artists in the entertainment industry that she is on the board of. She also connected with machine-learning experts to understand the tech better and reached out to other artists. In November, she saw news of the Copilot suit and got in touch with Saveri about filing her own. The firm agreed.
In December, Ortiz saw McKernan’s viral tweet about generative AI, and an opinion piece that Andersen wrote in the New York Times about how members of the alt-right on 4chan had imitated her art style AI generate pro-Nazi comic strips in her style. She reached out to the two immediately, and they both agreed to be a part of the lawsuit with her.
“Artists have a right to say what happens to their hard-earned works,” Andersen told BuzzFeed News over email. “It’s clear from the way AI generators rolled out that there was never any consideration given to artists, our wishes, or our rights, and this is our only option to be heard.”
The Concept Artists Association is currently fundraising to hire a lobbyist to protect creators against the march of generative AI.
“It’s gross to me,” Ortiz said about AI-powered apps and services that instantly spit out art based on a text prompt . “They trained these models with our work. They took away our right to decide whether we wanted to be a part of this or not.”