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Shutterstock Partners with OpenAI to Bring AI Image Generators Mainstream

Shutterstock and OpenAI have joined forces to sell AI-generated images and show-off tech creativity

The billionaire carried a sink into Twitter headquarters, a reference to the company’s announcement that it has extended its partnership with OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research laboratory, and will soon be integrating the text-to-image AI model DALL-E 2 directly into Shutterstock. Users will be able to generate images based on the criteria they enter. Shutterstock will also create a fund to “compensate artists for their contributions,” as well as focus its R&D machine on gathering and publishing AIgenerated content insights. Shutterstock CEO Paul Hennessy commented on the partnership, saying that “the mediums to express creativity are constantly evolving and expanding,” and that the company will ensure that “the generative technology that drives innovation is grounded in ethical practices.” Shutterstock and OpenAI began working together in 2021, with Shutterstock selling images and metadata to the AI research lab that was “critical to the training of DALL-E.

The Shutterstock data we licenced was critical to the training of DALL-E, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. We’re thrilled that Shutterstock will be offering DALL-E images to its customers as one of the first deployments via our API, and we look forward to future collaborations as artificial intelligence becomes an integral part of artists’ creative workflows. Shutterstock has also promised to compensate artists whose work is used to generate AI models. A Shutterstock spokesperson told The Verge that there are still “a lot of questions and uncertainty around this new technology, particularly when it comes to the concept of ownership,” but that because “AI content generation models leverage the IP of many artists and their content, AI-generated content ownership cannot be assigned to an individual and must instead compensate the many artists who were involved in the creation of each new piece of content.

DALL-E and other AI models are trained using massive amounts of images. Concerns have been raised that some of these models use copyrighted images in their training datasets. For example, Polish digital artist Greg Rutkowski recently claimed that the Stable Diffusion AI is using many of his landscape illustrations to create new images based on his work. According to Shutterstock, AI-generated content is the “collective effort” of contributing artists. The company plans to provide “additional compensation” for artists whose works contributed to the development of the AI models in order to create new revenue streams for these artists.

Shutterstock also stated that it intends to compensate these contributors through royalties when their intellectual property is used. Online art communities have raised concerns about the ethics of AI-generated images and have begun to ban them from their sites. Getty Images also banned AI-generated images in September, citing “open questions” about copyright and uncertainty about the data these AI models are trained on. Images from Getty Images This week, CEO Craig Peters told The Verge that companies “racing” to commercialize AI images are failing to consider the potential legal and ethical issues surrounding the technology.