Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against DeviantArt, Key AI Art Companies

The lawsuit explains that these AI image products not just infringe on artists' rights, but also eliminate artist work as a viable career path.

DeviantArt,Stability AI and Midjourney, have been served a class action lawsuit, citing violations to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), violation of class members' rights of publicity, and various violations of California's unfair competition laws. Moreover, DeviantArt’s case also involves discussion on breach of contract related to the DeviantArt Terms of Service.

  • The class action lawsuit was filed by Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P., as well as lawyer and programmer Matthew Butterick.
  • According to the lawsuit, AI product Stability AI (used by all of the companies in the lawsuit) was trained using billions of copyrighted images contained in the LAION-5B dataset. They were then downloaded and used without compensation or consent from the artists.
  • Moreover, the lawsuit explains that these AI image products not just infringe on artists' rights, but also eliminate artist work as a viable career path.
  • In short, the lawsuit aims to ensure these AI image products follow the same rules as any other new technology that involves the use of massive amounts of intellectual property.
  • The lawsuit also points out DeviantArt's misuse of user-generated content on the website as a training source for the AI products.
Joseph Saveri, founder of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, LLP: “As burgeoning technology continues to change every aspect of the modern world, it's critical that we recognize and protect the rights of artists against unlawful theft and fraud. This case represents a larger fight for preserving ownership rights for all artists and other creators.”
Matthew Butterick, lawyer and programmer: “AI needs to be fair and ethical for everyone. But Stability AI, Midjourney, and DeviantArt are appropriating the work of thousands of artists with no consent, no credit, and no compensation. As a lawyer who is also a longtime member of the visual-arts community, it's a pleasure to stand up on behalf of fellow artists and continue this essential conversation about how we the people want AI to coexist with human culture and creativity."

An official website explaining the class action lawsuit has been published, as well as further details on the significance of the lawsuit.

Plaintiffs involved in the lawsuit involve artists Sarah Andersen (creator of Sarah’s Scribbles’ comic series), independent American artist Kelly McKernan, and Puerto Rican artist Karla Ortiz.

NewsDrop has reached out separately to DeviantArt, Stability AI and Midjourney for comments and has yet to receive a reply.

Why Does This Matter to VTubers?

The use of AI art has been a dividing topic within the VTuber space, with a large majority of these VTubers and artists opposing the use of it. However, there are a few VTubers who have embraced the use of AI art, although in more controlled spaces.

We discussed the divisive topic of AI art use in the VTubing community in our opinion piece below:

Use of AI Art: The Online Battle Against Innovation Over Tradition
In the past few days, discussion related to the use, exposure, and proliferation of AI art online among the VTuber community has been evident, which has been used to reap social media engagement, if not potentially exploited for money. Over the past few months, AI art generators like DALL-E, Midjou…

Source: PRNewswire