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Shutterstock to Start Selling AI-Generated Stock Photos in Collaboration with OpenAI

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Shutterstock, the stock image giant, recently announced an extended partnership with the AI lab OpenAI. The text-to-image model DALL-E 2 by OpenAI would be integrated into Shutterstock soon. Does that mean the stock image industry would be buried under the AI image generators? Well, ‘No’ according to industry experts if they sell AI-generated pictures first.

Suggested read: The AI-Based Text-to-Video Generator Named Imagen Video by Google is Awaiting its Release Soon

The steps taken by Shutterstock

To safeguard the interest of the existing creators Shutterstock is on its way to launching a “Contributor Fund”. It would reimburse the creator whose work is sold to train the text-to-image AI models. There is widespread criticism by content creators whose work has been scraped without their consent to create these new models. To defend that Shutterstock is banning the sale of AI-generated art on its website that is not made using DALL-E integration.

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Experts speak

Paul Hennessy, CEO of Shutterstock, said, “The mediums to express creativity are constantly evolving and expanding. We recognize that it is our great responsibility to embrace this evolution and to ensure that the generative technology that drives innovation is grounded in ethical practices.”

CEO of OpenAI Sam Altman said, “We’re excited for Shutterstock to offer DALL-E images to its customers as one of the first deployments through our API, and we look forward to future collaborations as artificial intelligence becomes an integral part of artists’ creative workflows.”

Also read: Three Different Ways to Download Free Shutterstock Images in 2022

Is it legal and ethical?

Although it is a smart move by Shutterstock still there are ethical and legal questions encompassing this technology. Buying or scraping data to train AI generators is legal as covered by the Fair Usage Policy but experts are concerned about future complications and challenges.

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Getty Images has banned the sale of AI art on its website. This is because it cannot copyright the output made using AI generators which may invariably lead to licensing issues for customers.

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How the issues are taken care of?

When Verge asked about the pertaining issues to Shutterstock, a spokesperson said that there were a “lot of questions and uncertainty around this new technology, specifically when it comes to the concept of ownership,” but they stood their ground saying “because AI content generation models leverage the IP of many artists and their content, AI-generated content ownership cannot be assigned to an individual and must instead compensate the many artists who were involved in the creation of each new piece of content.”

Shutterstock promised to distribute pay-outs every six months including “both earnings from data deals as well as royalties from generic licensing on Shutterstock,” to the content creators.

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