ArtStation backlash increases following AI art protest response

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Art showcase platform ArtStation has provoked further backlash following its response to a protest over AI-generated images.

Recent advancements in AI-powered image generators like DALL-E, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney have raised many societal, legal, and ethical questions.

The ability to rapidly create art with just a text prompt is a clear threat to artists that rely on commissions to make a living. In a double blow, art created by human creators is often used – without their permission and/or payment – to train AI models.

In recent months, AI-generated images have taken over the homepages of art communities like ArtStation:

Some creators want AI images banned entirely while others at least want to see original work prioritised.

ArtStation community members have been spamming their profiles with a “No to AI generated images” picture to get their point across:

The protest drew a response from Epic Games-owned ArtStation, but it didn’t go down well.

In a FAQ, the company reiterated that its content guidelines do not prohibit the use of AI in generating artwork. However, it says “works on your portfolio should be work that you created and we encourage you to be transparent in the process. Please only publish work that either you own or that you have permission to publish.”

That response won’t have done much to satisfy the artists who are unhappy about the presence of AI artwork on the platform, but there’s one part in particular that provoked further anger.

“We believe artists should be free to decide how their art is used, and simultaneously we don’t want to become a gatekeeper with site terms that stifle AI research and commercialization when it respects artists’ choices and copyright law,” wrote the company.

To that end, it says it plans on adding tags – at some point – for artists to disallow the use of their work for AI research. Uploaded artwork won’t be disallowed for AI training by default and instead will be governed by copyright law.

Epic says that it welcomes feedback on the topic, which it’s already getting plenty of:

Other tweets, some from high-profile artists working in gaming and film, include screenshots of them deleting their ArtStation accounts.

(Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash)

Related: Adobe to begin selling AI-generated stock images

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