Photographer Submits Invoice to Request to Have Their Copyrighted Photo Removed from AI Dataset

With the advent of artificial intelligence, there are myriad ethical questions but the least of them, perhaps because it has been pretty much decided by convention before, is that an AI may not use copyrighted works to train itself without providing some sort of compensation to the creator. return.

worm's eye view photography of the ceiling
Layered streams of light. Photo by Joshua Sortino

This is just standard practice for some time now. So you can imagine one photographer’s surprise when he learned that perhaps his work was used to train an AI image generator and, after seeking compensation for copyright infringement, instead received a bill for “making false claims,” ​​reports Vice.

German photographer Robert Kneschke confirmed that his work is part of the non-profit organization LAION-5B’s Large-Scale Artificial Intelligence Open Network (LAION) data set that Vice says companies like AI Stability have used.

How did he navigate the more than 5.8 billion photos that make up LAION-5B? Using a website called Have I Been Trained?, Robert Kneschke discovered that indeed his work was part of the LAION-5B.

But it’s actually a bit complicated, both because of how German legal mechanisms work and because of LAION-5B. The basic premise for rejecting Kneschke’s claims is that LAION-5B does not store images in a way that would infringe Kneschke’s copyright if such infringement occurred.

“The only act of reproduction our client may perform is temporary and covered by the broader limitations of Section 44b UrhG and Section 60d UrhG…As has been explained to your client, our client does not retain any copies of your client’s work that may deleted or about the information that can be provided. Our client simply finds image files on the Internet for initial training of self-learning algorithms using so-called crawlers and records and briefly evaluates them for information,” Vice quoted a letter sent to Kneschke from lawyers for LAION.

As for German law, apparently, publicly available images can be used for data mining purposes as long as they are not stored. After rejecting her claim, they then sent her a bill for $USD 979 in legal costs incurred by LAION due to her claim.

Now Kneschke is suing them and has taken them to court in Hamburg, Vice reports.

As readers of our blog are well aware, we are on the cusp of an AI revolution and how it is impacting the world of photography in particular. Vice referenced Getty’s massive lawsuit for the same. You can read our article about it here at this link.

What do you think about artificial intelligence using a photographer’s copyrighted work to train its algorithms?

Let us know what you think about this topic and AI in general in the comments section below.

Check out some of our other photography headlines at this link here.


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