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  • Writer's pictureMichael Amelio

Shutterstock to start selling AI-generated images

Shutterstock, a leading name in stock images, has revealed an expanded collaboration with OpenAI, set to integrate OpenAI's text-to-image model, DALL-E 2, directly into Shutterstock's platform in the upcoming months.

Simultaneously, Shutterstock is unveiling a "Contributor Fund" initiative, aiming to reimburse creators whose works are utilized to train text-to-image AI models. This move is in response to concerns raised by artists whose creations were collected from the internet without consent for training such systems. Notably, Shutterstock will also prohibit the sale of AI-generated art on its platform unless it's generated using its DALL-E integration.

Paul Hennessy, CEO of Shutterstock, emphasized the company's commitment to ethical practices in this rapidly evolving creative landscape, stating, "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."

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, expressed excitement about Shutterstock's integration of DALL-E images, as it marks one of the initial deployments through OpenAI's API. He further hinted at future collaborations, underscoring the growing role of artificial intelligence in artists' creative processes.

This partnership builds upon a previous interaction between Shutterstock and OpenAI. Starting in 2021, Shutterstock provided images and metadata to OpenAI for DALL-E's development, with Altman acknowledging this data's critical role in the model's training.

As DALL-E's text-to-image capabilities become integrated into Shutterstock, it ushers in a new phase where the AI-generated outputs will be accessible to the same creators whose work was instrumental in training it. This move, while significant in acknowledging creators, also brings attention to the complex legal and ethical issues surrounding AI-generated content.

While sourcing or purchasing data for AI art training is currently legally permissible (under Fair Use), experts are concerned about potential future legal challenges. Notably, Getty Images has already banned AI art sales on its platform, fearing potential licensing issues due to the inability to copyright AI-generated outputs.

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