Countless artists have taken inspiration from “The Starry Night” since Vincent Van Gogh painted the swirling scene in 1889.
Now artificial intelligence systems are doing the same, training themselves on a vast collection of digitized artworks to produce new images you can conjure in seconds from a smartphone app.
The images generated by tools such as DALL-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion can be weird and otherworldly but also increasingly realistic and customizable – ask for a “peacock owl in the style of Van Gogh” and they can churn out something that might look similar to what you imagined.
But while Van Gogh and other long-dead master painters aren’t complaining, some living artists and photographers are starting to fight back against the AI software companies creating images derived from their works.
Two new lawsuits – one this week from the Seattle-based photography giant Getty Images – take aim at popular image-generating services for allegedly copying and processing millions of copyright-protected images without a license.
Getty said it has begun legal proceedings in the High Court of Justice in London against Stability AI, the maker of Stable Diffusion, for infringing intellectual property rights to benefit the London-based startup’s commercial interests.