Copyright and Why it Matters with AI

2022 brought AI closer to everyone. It demystified the idea that AI was only for tech gurus and software developers and allowed for exploration by the common person. In particular, ChatGPT and Lensa recently took the world by storm. Dodging ethereal avatars of your followers on Instagram became a sport. Why? Because it was an accessible way to play with the powers of AI and the results were admittedly cool. However with these two programs, Lensa in particular, our creative minds called into question how copyright plays into this.

A key factor to these programs and, part of the allure, is that the person using them doesn't have to question the process by which these images are created. This calls into question the copyright of visual artists. Just a couple of weeks ago, there was a class action lawsuit filed against a number of AI image generators that alleged the dataset used for their products was trained on “billions of copyrighted images.” That’s “billions” with a B. David Holz, founder and CEO of Midjourney defends this by saying most users of AI image generators aren’t artists and will not be selling their images, therefore no copyright is infringed. The three artists behind this lawsuit contend that the generated images are derivative works.

This gray area is an interesting conundrum and one that is playing out in front of us. But this is a big reason why we still use humans for the creative development of our advertising. The landscape changes quickly, and it’s important to be informed on issues, even when it’s not the sexiest of topics. We believe in the power of AI and technology to make certain aspects of our jobs easier so we can get to the creative faster. But that’s not without acknowledging the limitations of AI and the other problems it can cause. It’s also a reminder that, while the new technology is cool, the tools should be working for the humans–not the other way around. We will be following this case closely.

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