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The End of Real: Shutterstock and Getty Partner with AI To Create Original Images

Who needs artists and photographers when users will soon be able to create their own original custom images?

Popular stock photo sites Shutterstock and Getty Images have announced partnerships with generative AI platforms that will allow users to create original custom photos with new tools using text-to-image models. 

Shutterstock has teamed up with OpenAI, the AI research and deployment company and the originators of the DALL-E software, while Getty Images have partnered with BRIA, a company based in Israel that allows users to generate high-quality visual content with one click. 

Yair Adato, co-founder and CEO of BRIA, said in a statement, “We are proud to partner with Getty Images. Our collaboration will allow for the rapid deployment of AI-powered features across their platform, enabling their customers to quickly and easily get to their ideal image no matter what their use case or project.”

Both Getty Images and Shutterstock previously neglected the idea of AI-generated images on their respective platforms due to copyright concerns. However, text-to-image models will map words to usual representations of objects and scenes and are trained on massive datasets obtained from sites such as Pinterest, Artstation and Flickr. 

Moving with the times

OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman said, “The data we licensed from Shutterstock was critical to the training of DALL-E. We’re excited for Shutterstock to offer DALL-E images to its customers as one of the first deployments through our API, and we look forward to future collaborations as artificial intelligence becomes an integral part of artists’ creative workflows.”

And although Shutterstock stated that it licensed its images and metadata to OpenAI to train DALL-E last year, the software was trained on other sources as well. Once DALL-E is fully integrated into Shutterstock sometime next year, users will be able to use the tool to generate and customise their own images. 

Shutterstock CEO Paul J. Hennessy commented, “The mediums to express creativity are constantly evolving and expanding. We recognize that it is our great responsibility to embrace this evolution and to ensure that the generative technology that drives innovation is grounded in ethical practices. We have a long history of integrating AI into every part of our business. This expert-level competency makes Shutterstock the ideal partner to help our creative community navigate this new technology. And we’re committed to developing best practices and experiences to deliver on our purpose, which is to empower the world to create with confidence.”

Who pays who?

Although the partnerships will allow a lot of Getty Images and Shutterstock users to create their own images, Shutterstock creators will still be compensated for their photos on the platform and will also be paid royalties for their intellectual properties if the images are used to train future models. 

However, with the apparent end game being for users to able to generate images without input from real world sources, the move to integrating AI into such venerable, long-established platforms, would appear to place the trade of real, human-produced stock stills and footage under threat.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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